The problem of trust, non-transparency, and dysfunctionality has been ascribed to the character and the nature of the agricultural cooperative system in Namibia. Perhaps the true characterisation of the problem is not known with certainty albeit, the concern about the role of the institution, government intervention and member laxity. Further insight from the institutional economics suggests that organisational behaviour has a much larger role to play. Using a survey of 340 livestock farmers in six regions of the Southern Communal Areas of Namibia and adopting a logistic probability outcome model, the study examines the relevance of agricultural cooperatives with regards to the extent members are willing to participate with due cognisance to these concerns. The result shows that the probability that a farmer will join a cooperative is 29.5%. Education and technical constraints such as lack of adequate market information and training negatively affect willingness to participate. Participation is region specific, the odds of participation increases by 65, 91 and 14% if they are from Hardap, Kunene South/Erongo and Omaheke respectively. Increases in farm credit increase the odds of participation by 34%. The study also found that younger and inexperienced farmers are more likely to join cooperatives than older and experienced ones. The results highlight a general lack of knowledge about the cooperative system which calls for the strengthening of the policy framework to incorporate the concerns raised by new institutional economics.
Key words: Cooperative, institution, livestock, probability, participation.
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