Structural Analysis of Factors Affecting the Sustainable Development of Agricultural Production Cooperatives in Rural Areas Naghadeh Township



Both agricultural and rural development has been an essential element for progress of many countries. In order to maintain a sustainable development strategy various destructive factors such as Poverty, food insecurity, rural migration and environmental degradation should be constantly tried to get diminished. Agricultural sector is one of the most important economic activities in Iran and therefore, requires integrated planning in order to achieve development and cope with the economic, social and political crisis. In the same path, quite possibly many developed countries owe their increased agricultural production, reduced costs, and increased revenue to the agricultural production cooperatives. Significant and different successes have been achieved for the established cooperatives. Cooperatives are still a powerful lever for both economic growth and social welfare. 
Unfortunately, it has been observed that currently in Iran many agricultural production cooperatives been quite inactive, unproductive and inefficient. As an institution, many of them have a very short life span. For example from 1,202 registered cooperatives in west Azerbaijan Province, only about 416 are well established. It is worthy to note, that specifically in Naghadeh Township cooperatives, only four are active. Obviously, agricultural production cooperatives of Iran should be taken more seriously and paid more attention by both the government and private organizations if food security is to be managed and poverty fought. Cooperatives and cooperation approach should be promoted in to everyday culture. This important ant step will enhance unity among community members as well as initiate creativity.
The purpose of this study was to analyze factors affecting sustainable development of agricultural production cooperatives in Naghadeh Township. A questionnaire was used to gather data. Population included members of agricultural production cooperatives in Naghadeh Township (N=778). Krejcie and Morgan’s (1970) Table was used to determine sample numbers (n=260). Also a stratified random sampling was implemented to select samples. In order to determine validity of questionnaire, a panel of faculty members in the department of agricultural extension and education at Tarbiat Modares University who were familiar with development of agricultural Production Cooperatives reviewed the instrument for clarity and content validity. Minor changes in wording were recommended to the questionnaire to improve clarity of some statements. The reliability coefficient (Cronbach Coefficient Alpha) was used to determine reliability of the instrument, internal consistency was between r= 0.78 and 0.81. Statistical methods used in this study, correlation analysis (using software SPSS22) and structural equation modeling (using software LISREL8.80), respectively.
Results showed that all factors affecting sustainable development of agricultural production cooperatives and the dependent variable had high average rating. The correlation matrix of variables in the research model indicated a significant positive relationship between the four components of development with the sustainable development of agricultural production cooperatives. Among these factors institutional factor had the highest correlation with sustainable development of cooperatives (r=0.565), While environmental factor had the least correlation (r= 0.258) with sustainable development of cooperatives. 
The conceptual framework presented in the paper was evaluated by the use of structural equation modeling. According to the results, the t-value obtained in the equations indicated that it was different from zero in all variables used in the model. The indicators CR as well as AVE had appropriate and high values. In the same path, the Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA) scored less than 0.05. Therefore, overall fit was good. Also, the coefficient of determination (R2) displayed for each equation showed the amount of variance in the dependent variable accounted for by independent variables. Thus, R2 of 63.1 in sustainable development of agricultural production cooperatives equation indicated that 63% of the variance in sustainable development of agricultural production cooperatives explained by social, economic, environmental and institutional factors.
Results of correlation analysis indicated a positive and a significant relationship between the components of the social, economic, environmental and institutional with the sustainable development of agriculture production cooperative. Also all the hypotheses have been approved and each component of social, economic, environmental and institutional had a significant and a positive effect on sustainable development of agricultural production cooperatives.
According to the results of the study the following suggestions were made: Cooperative administrators in cooperation with the Township's Agriculture Jihad Organization should provide essential training for the members regarding the principles and philosophy of cooperation in order to create a belief in partnership. Also, the relevant agencies should enhance their support to agricultural cooperatives by eliminating the cumbersome laws; provide adequate credit and facilities to production units, so that the members with considerations for environmental issues could increase their production.


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