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Agricultural Cooperatives and Farmers’ Economic Growth: A Case Study of Coffee Farmers in the South Kivu Province in The Democratic Republic of Congo

Abstract: The study pursued to find out the role of agricultural cooperatives management in farmers’ economic growth among coffee cooperatives in the South Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The study was guided by four specific objectives which were to assess the influence of cooperatives’ human resource management and to value addition on coffee farmers’ socio-economic growth in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Agriculture is the term used to refer to the ways and means in which crops and domestic animals sustain the global population by providing food and other products. Cooperatives are people-centered enterprises jointly owned and democratically controlled by and for their members to realize their common socio-economic needs and aspirations. Agriculture based cooperatives provide various services to their members at individual level yet agricultural production cooperatives aim at joining together production resources such as land, money, machinery and other inputs to be used collectively by the cooperative members. A descriptive research design enabled by the use of a case study was used for the research. Qualitative and quantitative data was collected using primary and secondary data. Primary data was collected using questionnaires, structured interviews and observation whilst secondary data was collected through books, journals, internet and articles. Data analysis was done using Statistical Package of Social Studies “SPSS” software. The findings affirmed that Cooperatives are means to develop farmers businesses and economies. The farmers within the research area are averagely satisfied with cooperatives performance. It was found that farmers need to be much more involved in planning and management of their organizations’ activities. A huge need of education on rights and duties of farmers was felt as there was clear lack of awareness within cooperators, leading to misappropriation of organizations’ resources. Last but not least, cooperatives need to diversify their sources of funding and incomes if they will to remain financially sustainable. Key terms: Cooperatives, farmers, advocacy, human resource management, coffee farming

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