University of Twente Student Theses


Differences between model farmers and cooperatives in Ethiopian agricultural development: evidence from the Create Project

Benincasa, Pascal (2019) Differences between model farmers and cooperatives in Ethiopian agricultural development: evidence from the Create Project.

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Abstract:Within the sphere of agricultural development, model farmers and cooperatives are key to success for agricultural extension projects in the developing world, as they act as a gateway for smallholder farmers to access improved resources and technologies. The path to prosperity, however, does not come without controversy, as the long-recognized potential of cooperatives is outperformed by the superior level of performance attained by model farmers. The enormous difference that divides model farmers and cooperatives is rarely afforded critical scrutiny, which raises the question to find the apparent reasons behind model farmers’ alleged success. To do so, model farmers and cooperatives are analyzed according to their level of financial capacity, social recognition, and the services they provide to smallholder farmers. Model farmers, cooperatives and their respective member farmers were interviewed to explore the way they interact, work, and cooperate within and outside the scope of agricultural extension projects. To illustrate, examples from the CREATE project, a supply chain development project implemented in the Arsi and West-Arsi zones in Ethiopia are shown. The study shows that financial capacity and social recognition are predominant to define the success in the malt barley supply chain. In more details, through larger access to capital and stronger social recognition, model farmers can provide customer-focused services and secure long-lasting loyalty within the local community. Active competition harm cooperatives that are not able to compete against model farmers, though they can deliver a robust service to their members. Despite assuming a crucial role in agricultural development, cooperatives’ low financial capacity and lack of social recognition make us question their real contribution to the broad picture of poverty alleviation. In contrast, model farmers are seen as a fast and safe feature for both knowledge transfer and profit considerations.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:48 agricultural science
Programme:International Business Administration BSc (50952)
Keywords:Model farmers, Cooperatives, Aggregators, Smallholder farmers, Outgrowers, Agricultural extension projects
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