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close this book Agricultural extension
close this folder Providing agricultural support services
close this folder Indirect services
View the document Working with individual farmers
View the document Working with counterparts
View the document Working with groups
View the document Working with cooperatives
View the document Working with local authorities, government or development agencies

Working with cooperatives

OVERVIEW

When there is an existing cooperative association in the community in which an extensionist works, he is confronted with the problem of providing services to the co-op as opposed to any individual farmer. This is the situation where defining a clear and consistent role is most necessary. A cooperative must stand on its own feet and maintain a clear sense of its own responsibility and ability if it is to succeed. If, in his zeal to help, the extensionist reclaims some of that responsibility or inadvertently causes the co-op to depend on him for some service, he can easily endanger the self-motivation upon which the cooperative enterprise rests.

There are of course circumstances in which the extensionist can and will provide services directly to a co-opt Giving a cooperative new skills is a tremendous investment in its longevity and effectiveness. However, being ever mindful of both the ease with which dependence relapses and the effort involved in developing competent self-reliance, he must be extremely cautious. Caution takes the form of a careful delineation of a role which is helpful without being indispensable.

In the case of working with cooperatives, extensionists are urged to work always with a cooperative-member counterpart. Most particularly, the extensionist should seek out the nominal and informal leaders of a cooperative to work with them as counterparts.

Chapter Five, especially "Forming Cooperative Associations", is full of specific ways in which extensionists can facilitate the work of groups. The earlier subchapters in this chapter, "Indirect Services", are the guides to use for defining a clear and helpful role with cooperatives.

ILLUSTRATION

See Chapter Five.

TOOLS

See Chapter Five.