Community-based co-operatives in Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK) community (eThekwini Municipality) as an alternative form of economic development : lessons from the Kenyan co-operatives models.
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Enabling a community with the community based co-operatives for poverty alleviation is a need which has to be given urgent attention. This study examines how community based co-operatives can be an alternative form of economic development in the Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu area. The objectives of the study were: to investigate the impact of Agricultural and Multipurpose Secondary Co-operatives within the INK (Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu) area of the eThekwini Municipality, which is situated within the province of KwaZulu-Natal, and to draw lessons from the Kenyan co-operative models so as to improve the function of co-operatives within the INK area. A qualitative and quantitative method was used to garner rich information of on how co-operatives operate in INK area and in Kenya give credibility to the sustainable livelihood approach. In this study, the meaning of community development was developed for the understanding of the community's socio-economic life improvement promotion. The study find that despite the important role played by co-operatives worldwide, agricultural co-operatives are experiencing challenges among others lack of access to the land by co-operatives members, lack of access to market, lack of access to finance, lack of knowledge about co-operatives, lack of business skills and lack of infrastructural facilities. Due to these challenges facing co-operatives, the government recommended the eThekwini Municipality and the KwaZulu Natal Provincial Department of Agriculture for funding and other necessaries support to ensure that co-operative development is sustainable in INK. The findings of this study suggest that while the INK Agricultural and Multipurpose Secondary Co-operatives have been there for some time but very little has been done hence the unification of the five associations from the District Farmer's Association in the eThekwini Municipality as a strategy to improve their households' socio-economic situation. Evidence from the Kenyan agricultural co-operatives can be replicated in other developing countries such as South Africa to eradicate failures in the co-operative sector and ensure that they flourish and succeed.