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Abstract

The study assessed the role of cooperatives in financing rice production in Arondizogu, Ideato-North Local Government Area, Imo State, Nigeria. Informal or semi-formal financial institutions such as cooperative societies have become major players in financial services provision. However, the informal providers often have weak institutional and managerial capacity and offer only a narrow range of financial services, often without regulation. Moreover, operating in isolation from the financial system has let some of these providers charge steep and sometimes even usurious interest rates. This study is conceived against this backdrop to provide information n the financing activities of the cooperatives and thereby inform and influence relevant policies. Purposive random sampling technique was used in selection of three communities namely; Ndi-Onuwaoha, Ndi-Njoku, Akame-Ikpa-Okoli in Arondizogu, because they are the prominent rice producing communities in the area. The sample size comprised sixty farmers. The main tool for data collection was the validated structured questionnaire. Data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistical tools. The findings indicated that majority of the farmers ( 89.99%) applied to their cooperatives for loan amount that ranged N41,000-N100,000 but obtained amount less than that applied to the range of N31,000-N70,000. Result also showed that majority of cooperative societies (81.67%) charged double digit interest rates. The highest number of the respondents represented by 96.67% identified insufficient loan amount as one of the problems encountered by the rice farmers in obtaining loans from the various cooperative societies. Recommendations were made based on the findings.

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