Farmers’ Cooperative Practices and Maize Value Chain in Uganda: A Case of Masindi District.
Key words: maize, value- chain, corporate governance, coordination mechanism, inclusion of farmers’ gropes, RPOs, Masindi.
The study investigated the relationship between farmers’ cooperatives and the development of maize value chain in Uganda, focusing on selected farmers’ cooperatives in Masindi district which is among the largest maize growing districts in Uganda so as to understand farmers’ cooperatives and related factors that lead to value chain development.
The study used a mixed methods design. A random sample of 111 rural producer Organizations (RPOs) ; and 6 purposive sampled key informants including 1 district official, 2 Bomido Area Cooperative enterprise executive officials,1 warehouse operator and 2 agro- processors was used.
Quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics and correlation analysis was used to establish relationships and added value plots. Qualitative data was analysed using NVIVO software to map key informants responses.
Findings revealed positive correlations between development of maize value chain and the 3 predictor variables including coordination mechanisms (89.8%), corporate governance (67%) and inclusion of farmers groups in rural producer organizations (62.2%).
They predict up to 85.45% of explained variability of development of maize value chain in Masindi. In addition, all individual predictors are statistically significant (corporate governance t = 4.8.18, p = 0.000; coordination mechanisms t = 11.01, p = 0. 000, and farmers inclusion t = 4. 66, p= 0.000) explained variations in the development of the maize value chain. Implications are, it is imperative that corporate governance requires farmer Rural Producer Organizations’ (RPOs) new managerial skills to engagement of multiple stake holders at different levels or the value chains.
Also there are existed both vertical and horizontal coordination and mechanisms in value chain. This consequently contributed to less chance to use cooperatives for development of maize value chain in Masindi.
Though loosely affected the value chain, inclusion of farmers’ groups in RPOs showed that farmers were driven by anticipated benefits of collectivization to join cooperatives.
Therefore, farmers’ cooperatives can be a central player in order to maintain the coordination system that include access to market and market information, better farming equipment and technology in the maize value chain.