Assessing the Stability of Farming System in Rural Production Cooperatives in Isfahan Province and the Effective Strategies to Achieve it

Document Type : Scientific Articles


University of Isfahan


Purpose- Rural production cooperatives (RPCs) play an important role in sustainable development in rural areas by considering three principles: domination, possession, and agency in the agriculture sector. The purposes of this study are to measure the stability of RPCs and presenting effective strategies to achieve it from the managers’ view point.
Design/methodology/approach- The present study is a mixed-research method using analytic-descriptive method, including two different questionnaires. One questionnaire aiming at prioritizing and measuring the stability of the RPCs was prepared and presented to the members of RPCs. Stability was measured with 24 indices in three economic, social, and environmental dimensions using Shannon Entropy technique, according which the cooperatives were prioritized. The other questionnaire was prepared to present the best approach to achieve sustainable development from the view point of the managing directors and the board of directors. The best strategy was adopted using SWOT and ANP analysis.
Findings- Regarding the sustainable development, the findings of the study indicated that among rural production cooperatives in Isfahan, 12 cooperatives were unstable, 8 cooperatives were semi-stable, and 8 cooperatives were stable; this type of farming system is semi-stable. Developmental strategy (SO) was adopted as the best strategy to achieve sustainability, and the focus was on endogenous development through reinforcing internal strengths to obtain external opportunities. It includes promoting self-reliance through increasing members’ participation in cooperative, empowering the staff and members (i.e. the experienced managing director and the staff with required specialty and expert holding promotional classes), using multilevel, multi-sectorial, multi-cluster, collaborative, and holistic approaches to manage the RPCs, and promoting systems based on collaborative team work.
Practical Implications- In rural sustainable development planning, sustainable farming systems must be considered as the focal core of any development plan. Since a big part of farming system in rural areas is devoted to smallholdings, promoting cooperation culture by the rural development planners can prepare the ground for empowering the villagers to obtain sustainable development.
Originally/value: For the first time in Iran, the current research attempted to present functional strategies for RPCs development using a mixed-method design.


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