| Co-Operatives In Natural Resources Management Workshop report 10 |
Until now, we have not provided any clues to determinants of performance of NRMCS. In Tables 2 - 4, we present a summary appraisal of the sample NRMCS in terms of 11 chosen dimensions of governance structure and performance as perceived by their members. These 11 dimensions have been identified by several researchers as crucial determinants of success and failure of co-operatives (See, for example, Shah 1992 a, b; Attwood and Baviskar 1987, Baviskar and Attwood 1991).
Several other determinants of success emerged from the case-studies. For example, we found that the members stake in resources, around which coop is organised, is necessary but not sufficient conditions to become successful manager of the resource. There are several reasons for this. One, as we mentioned earlier, the members did not have any control over decision-making, and secondly, the co-operatives did not serve the interest of the members; the economic gain or services that the members received from the co-operatives were not significantly higher than those received by them, or the non-members, from alternative sources. In many cases, the incentives structures were such that they encouraged free-riding and the misuse of the co-operatives by a few members for their vested interests.
Most of the papers were based on case-studies of both successes and failures in co-operative management of natural resources. The results of the case-studies present a mixed scenario; some performed well while others did poorly. The case-studies revealed that not all the NRMCS studied were able to meet the goals of efficiency, sustainability, equity and resource users’ satisfaction. Wherever they were successful, a variety of socio-cultural, technological, institutional, and economic factors contributed to the success. The major determinants of success across all resources and geographic regions were:
(1) High stakes of resource users in the resource as well as in the co-operatives managing the resources. This was found to be an important factor in the forest co-operatives of Himachal Pradesh (Agrawal and Singh, 1992) minor forest co-operatives of Madhya Pradesh (Marothia, 1992) fisheries co-operatives of Karnataka (Bhatt, 1992); of Kerala (Nair and Singh, and Balakrishnan et al., 1992); and of West Bengal (Rahim and Singh), all water companies of Mehsana (Shah and Bhattacharya, 1992); Amritwahini Lift Irrigation Co-operative (Thomas, 1992); and irrigation co-operatives in Maharashtra (Patil and Lele, 1992)).
(2) Good local leadership and social and political entrepreneurship. This was found to be a significant determinant in the sheep breeders’ co-operative in Rajasthan (Ray, 1992); Amritwahani Lift Irrigation Co-operative (Thomas, 1992); and Captain Bhery Fish Co-operative in West Bengal (Singh and Dhar Chaudhary, 1992).
(3) Existence and strict enforcement of rules for regulating the use of the resource, preventing free riding, and sharing the costs and benefits of co-operative management equitably (in proportion to the effort put in or contribution made. This was found to be a major factor in the TGCS (Mishra, 1992; Singh and Subramanian, 1992; Saxena, 1992); forest co-operatives of Himachal Pradesh (Agrawal and Singh, 1992) and irrigation co-operatives (Patil and Lele, 1992); and water companies of Mehsana (Shah and Bhattacharya).
(4) Willingness of government departments and officials to share power with the co-operatives and to support them in the form of funds, technical information, legitimacy, and co-ordination. This was an important factor in the Pong Dam fish co-operatives, (Moorthi and Chauhan 1992).
(5) Involvement of an external agency as a catalyst. This was found to be a significant factor in the TGCS (Mishra, 1992); irrigation co-operatives (Patil and Lele, 1992); marine fish co-operatives of SIFFS (Nair and Singh, 1992); and Sahada Lift Irrigation Co-operative (Barik, 1992).
(6) Integration of production, processing and marketing. Wherever and whenever integration of these functions was absent or was not available in needed quantity, co-operatives tended to fail or perform poorly. This was found to be a major factor in the minor forest produce co-operative (Marothia, 1992); all marine fish co-operatives (Nair and Singh, 1992; Rahim and Singh, 1992); salt miners’ co-operatives (Singh and Bhattacharya, 1992); and sabaigrass co-operative (Singh and Mohanthy, 1992).
(7) Size and composition of membership of NRMCS did not have any significant effect on the performance of the co-operatives. The literature is replete with studies which suggest that small and cohesive groups have higher chances of success in management of CPRs than large and heterogeneous groups. But the case-studies presented at the Workshop did not support that view, and it is not necessary condition for a successful collective management of common pool resources. This indicates that large and heterogeneous groups could also be organised with proper institutional arrangements to manage CPRs successfully. This was evident in the cases of the TGCS (Mishra, 1992; Saxena, 1992; Singh and Subramanian, 1992); all water companies (Shah and Bhattacharya, 1992); irrigation co-operatives (Patil and Lele, 1992); and Pongdam Fish Co-operatives (Moorthi and Chauhan, 1992).