The impact of saving and credit cooperatives on food security in the West Amhara Region of Ethiopia

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Ayele, Zemen Ayalew
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University College Cork
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In rural Ethiopia, among other things, lack of adequate financial service is considered as the basic problem to alleviate rural poverty and to solve the problem of food insecurity. Commercial banks are restricted to urban centres. Providing rural financial service through RUSACCO to the poor has been proposed as a tool for economic development and for achieving food security. Evidence from research in this regard has been so far scanty, especially in rural Ethiopia. The aims of this study are to analyze the determinants of membership, to identify socioeconomic and demographic factors that influence members’ participation in RUSACCOs and to quantify the impact of RUSACCOs on member households’ food security. The study was conducted in two purposely selected woredas in the Amhara region one from food insecure (Lay Gayint woreda) and the other from food secure (Dejen woreda). Six RUSACCOs were selected randomly from these two woredas. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected. Key informant interviews, focus group discussions and survey techniques were used to collect primary data. Collected data was then analyzed using mixed methods depending on the nature of data. For quantitative data analysis appropriate statistical models were used. The study result reveals that the number of members in each RUSACCO is very small. However, the majority of non-member respondents are willing to join RUSACCO. Lack of information about the benefits of RUSACCO membership is the main problem why many rural poor do not join RUSACCOs. Members participate in different aspects of the cooperatives, starting from attending general assembly up to board membership. They also participate actively in saving and borrowing activities of RUSACCO. The majority of the respondents believe the RUSACCO is a vital instrument in combating food insecurity. The empirical findings indicate that gender, marital status, occupation, educational level, participation in local leadership and participation in other income generation means determine the decision of rural poor to join a RUSACCO or not. The amount of saving is determined by household head occupation, farming experience and income level. While age of household head, primary occupation, farming experience, date of membership, annual total consumption expenditure, amount of saving and participation in other income generation activities influence members’ amount of borrowing by RUSACCO members. Finally, the study confirms that RUSACCO participation improves household food security. RUSACCO membership has made positive impact on household total consumption expenditure and food expenditure.
RUSACCO , Food security , Members , Impact , Socio-economic and demographic factors
Ayele, Z.A. 2014. The impact of saving and credit cooperatives on food security in the West Amhara Region of Ethiopia. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.