Performance of Zambia's Co-operatives – A Case Study of Kabwe, Lusaka & Kafue Based Co-operatives


Moulen Siame


The majority of Zambian population depend on smallholder farming, predominantly organized into co-operatives, for their livelihood and have not performed well in addressing poverty and job creation in spite of interventions from the government and private institutions.

The success of the agribusiness in Zambia depends on the use of innovative business models. The changing consumer buying habits favor product-oriented and not production-oriented farmers; whereby farmers should see themselves as suppliers of consumer products in an integrated national/world food system. 

In order to understand the specific challenges that Zambia's co-operatives visa-a-vie agribusinesses in agricultural value chain are facing, this study examined the effectiveness of the business models used by a selected co-operatives. The outcome of the study would useful in designing alternative entrepreneurial business model that takes into consideration the local conditions and current trends in agrifood industry.

The findings have revealed that the co-operative business model were ineffective in creating, delivering and capturing economic and social impact, prone to property rights constraints, undercapitalized, non-profitable, hardly employ, mostly production-oriented, and poor management and technical skills. The legal, policy environment were outdated.