Why do agricultural co-operatives fail to attract youth and create rural employment? Evidence from a case study of Zanokhanyo in Butterworth, Eastern Cape


  • S. Zantsi




National Development Plan, Agricultural extension, agricultural cooperatives


In the National Development Plan, cooperatives and agriculture development are identified as possible solutions for addressing rural poverty and unemployment, especially among the youth. However, according to most research/literature, agricultural cooperatives fail for many reasons, including but not limited to lack of capital, incompetent management and organizational deficiencies. This study applied a qualitative analysis to the qualitative data using a case study of Zanokhanyo Food Security Cooperative (ZFSC) in Ndabakazi, Butterworth. Interviews with the project members, ex-members, extension officers and youth were conducted through a semi-structured questionnaire administered in IsiXhosa. According to the results, lack of intensive production resulting in very low incomes is one of the reasons why projects such as ZFSC fail to attract young people and provide employment for rural people. Agricultural extension advisory services play a very limited role because of their generalist approach; they lack depth of knowledge about diverse agricultural subject areas. This study recommends that agricultural extension and the farmers’ support system be improved by employing or outsourcing specialists to cater to the needs of agricultural cooperatives in order to improve the productivity and income of agricultural cooperatives.


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How to Cite

Zantsi, S. (2021). Why do agricultural co-operatives fail to attract youth and create rural employment? Evidence from a case study of Zanokhanyo in Butterworth, Eastern Cape. South African Journal of Agricultural Extension (SAJAE), 49(1), 183–197. https://doi.org/10.17159/2413-3221/2021/v49n1a10785