1.0 Background of the Study
In Nigeria today, poverty has become a major problem facing the country. The question has been asked, how can this problem of poverty, which is effecting our economy be alleviated. Several government bodies have been set up to find solution to that. However, it is important to find out what poverty is all about and the meaning of cooperative by different scholars, and merge the two together for us to have a clearer of the purpose of this study.
According to Oxford dictionary, poverty is a state of being poor. It is inability of a household to generate adequate income for the maintenance of the house members. That is to say, it can be defined from the point of view of income, and that is the general intake by which poverty can be evaluated. A Poor person means a person who is unable to find a job, obtain adequate income, unable to own property, and maintain a good healthy condition. This is the sign of poverty we are talking about.
On the other hand, cooperative is a phenomenon that denotes any form of working together voluntarily by persons or individuals to achieve common goals. To narrow it down cooperative refers to the activities of an association of persons with similar social, cultural and economic needs who willingly come together to satisfy these need in solidarity. In other words cooperative was born as a result of reaction against capitalism, competition and injustices that associated with them. Cooperatives is a purely service oriented to their members rather than profit oriented.
The cooperative members integrated their resources, for the satisfaction of their members identified need. Beside, a tree cannot make a forest; people from different places can come together and pool their resources together to satisfy their expectation.
However, based on these, cooperative is the best way of tackling the perennial economic problem of a developing country like Nigeria where a greater percentage of people live below poverty level. This is probably what informs the Federal Government in 1979 to formulate a policy guideline, that at least 25% of Nigerians should become cooperators.
The Danish people saw in cooperative as easier way of improving their national economy, especially after the war with Germany and their humiliating defeat which contributed to national poverty. They went into promotion of the economic interest of their people (Okechukwu 2001). Swedish people embraced cooperation because of the need to improve the economic interest of their people. Everybody was made to participate in one form of chosen economic activity or the others.
In Africa, particularly in Nigeria this has made the Federal Government to have several poverty alleviation schemes such as National Agricultural Food Production Programme (NAFPP), River Basin Development Authority (RBDA), Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS), National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPED), National Economic Empowerment Strategy (NEEDS) Family Support Programme. (FSP), Better life for Rural Women, family Economic Advancement Programme, and others. Some state government, were not left out in trying to find out how poverty could be alleviated. Cooperatives as socio-economic institutions through their activities are could be a potent tool for poverty alleviation particularly in fighting poverty and unemployment. This could be in the area of agriculture, provision of infrastructural facilities and education.
Therefore in Kaduna State, particularly in Kaduna South Local Government Area, the research activity is conducted so as to know the level or the impact of cooperative in reducing poverty.
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