Determinants of cohesion in smallholder farmer groups in Uganda
Cohesion is a fundamental determinant of performance in farmer groups in which collective action is pursued for the benefit of the members. The study examined the influence of individual members’ objectives, participation culture, group rewards, structure of tasks and perceived equity on cohesion of farmer groups that can promote access to agricultural extension services. Quantitative data were collected from 180 members of 19 farmer groups using questionnaires selected in a multi-stage process that combined purposive and random sampling. Qualitative data were gathered from 20 key informants in oral interviews and three focus group discussions. Regression analysis indicated that there were statistically significant negative relationships between individual members’ objectives, structure of the tasks, group reward system and cohesion of farmer groups. In contrast, perceived equity had a statistically significant positive relationship with cohesion in farmer groups. We recommend that, for sustainability of group cohesion, group facilitators work with the farmer groups to ensure alignment of group and NAADS institutions and performance indicators. A group dynamics perspective to understanding farmer group cohesion should be a helpful organizing principle.
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