Ethiopian Journal of the Social Sciences and Humanities

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The Development of Agricultural Cooperatives in Ethiopia: History and a Framework for Future Trajectory

Dagne Mojo, Terefe Degefa, Christian Fischer


Cooperatives have been playing important roles in the socio-economic lives of communities for a long time during which they have also encountered challenges and weaknesses. These have made countries to have their own distinct histories of the development of cooperatives and of course sometimes having similarities. Based on a critical review of literature and analysis of secondary data, this article presents a brief history of the development of the Ethiopian cooperatives with a focus on agricultural cooperatives. It indicates that although modern cooperatives have rapidly increased and positively contributed to community development, several weaknesses and challenges still remain being rooted in the economic, social, institutional, political and environmental settings. Due to the importance given to agricultural cooperatives in today’s Ethiopia, sustaining the contributions of cooperatives to members and the larger community becomes vital that deserves policymakers’ attention. Towards that end and based on the key findings, the article proposes a framework that can help integrate sustainability principles into a cooperative structure right from the setup stage, as a future trajectory in the development of cooperatives in Ethiopia.

Keywords: agricultural cooperatives, collective action, developing country, Ethiopia, sustainable development, framework
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