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A sustainability model for agricultural cooperatives in KwaZulu-Natal.

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The high attrition and stagnant rate of agricultural cooperatives in the Province of KwaZulu Natal has raised concerns, given that they are recognised globally and in South Africa for their significant role in promoting impoverished communities' social and economic development. This challenge has become a threat to community development by hampering the growth of the agricultural cooperatives. Accordingly, this study aimed to investigate the challenges that hinder the growth of agricultural cooperatives and assess factors that contribute to their growth. The study utilised clustered sampling to ensure the representation of all districts and was conducted in nine districts of KwaZulu-Natal Province. The sample comprised 367 respondents who were members of agricultural cooperatives from 99 cooperatives in the province. Quantitative research was employed using questionnaires, and the data were analysed using SPSS (Version 25.0.). Sustainability models used in the study included pictorial visualization, quantitative, physical, conceptual, standardising, egg of sustainability, and prism models. The literature gap in a sustainability model that considers the combined behaviour of resource management, good governance, sustainability monitoring, market access, and social and economic aspects in agricultural cooperatives has been addressed. The study revealed several factors contributing to agricultural cooperatives' demise, including a lack of good governance, leadership, technical skills, business management expertise, conflict management abilities, cohesion among members, and sustainable farming methods. These deficiencies suggest that the agricultural cooperatives under review could be more sustainable. Therefore, the study recommends adherence to cooperative principles, capacity building of cooperatives in all aspects of business, including environmental training, the appointment of boards to inculcate governance systems, the institutionalisation of social responsibility programs, and redefining the government's relationship with agricultural cooperatives. The study contributes to the body of knowledge by developing a model that enhances the sustainability of agricultural cooperatives in KwaZulu-Natal, thereby increasing their success rate.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.