Agricultural Cooperatives in the Kingdom of Eswatini: Financial Efficiency, Challenges and Opportunities (Published)
Promoting cooperative financial efficiency through problem-solving and arresting opportunities builds cooperative resilience necessary for ameliorating rural livelihoods. Therefore, this study assessed the income-generating capacity, challenges, and opportunities available to agricultural cooperatives in Eswatini. Secondary data were sourced from government and parastatal reports, while primary data were collected through personal interviews guided by a structured questionnaire. Financial ratios, descriptive statistics, and content analysis were employed for data analysis. The results revealed that broiler, dairy, crop, animal feed and sugarcane cooperatives had strong financial efficiency, 81.75%, 65.36%, 49.61%, 40.33% and 36.37%, respectively. High production cost, free-riders, insufficient capital and lack of training on conflict resolution and administration are the major challenges encountered by cooperatives. Agribusiness opportunities exist in all subsectors. An inclusive regulatory body is recommended to establish production-marketing frameworks to enhance financial efficiency. Pragmatic training programmes are required to address intra-organisational challenges, while inter-organisational linkages are necessary to harness opportunities.