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Title: Cooperative enterprises and agricultural development : the case of Lebanon
Author: Ghadban, Elias Y.
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2013
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This research aims at assessing the extent to which the political rhetoric related to the role of cooperatives in agricultural development in Lebanon corresponds to the producers' own view of benefits and problems in their cooperatives. It explores the role and impacts attributed to producers' cooperatives in agriculture by the Lebanese government and development agencies. The thesis is based on text analysis and semi-structured interviews with the government, development agencies, directors and members of producers' cooperatives. Active cooperatives, identified as such by the Lebanese Directorate General of Cooperatives, were examined under five dimensions: initiation phase and progress, organisational structure, partnership and environment, services supply and participation, and problems and benefits. The investigation results are quantified through 22 components and 89 indicators. Special attention is given to differences between agricultural regions and agricultural sub-sectors, the impact of gender on cooperation, and membership practices at the producers' level. The findings reveal that the official rhetoric on the role of producers' cooperatives in inducing socio-economic development in Lebanon does not match the empirical reality of how the producers evaluate the benefits and challenges resulting from the cooperatives. Producers' cooperatives in Lebanon are tools of political influence and corruption, formally legalized under the cooperative law and occasionally sustained by development aid offered by development agencies. They are generally wasteful, failing to reduce the cost of production or to increase income. This research argues that under the Lebanese neoliberal environment, agricultural cooperatives did not carry adaptation, hybridization, or degeneration to increase their performance, but have instead wasted development aid, fostered corruption, and increased political control. Neoliberal post-war reconstruction and development policies in Lebanon have produced a weak cooperative sector with funding-dependent enterprises characterised by corruption and mismanagement.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral