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Discourse Revival

Social Capital: The Most Valuable Property of Rural and Agricultural Cooperatives Network
by: H. Shirzad[i]

Over half a century, the rural cooperative network has been the most significant ground for creating social capital in rural areas. The foundations of social capital, comprising confidence, partnership, integrity, communication, networking, has created a protection mechanism for public interests. These foundations have been boosting economic productivity by coordinating the market relation of rural areas. Unfortunately, the social capital of the rural cooperative network has been severely undermined due to the underdevelopment of managing structure. Administrative corruption of the credit funds along with improper tolerance of financial discrimination has resulted in undermining confidence and commitment as the vital elements. Therefore, the formal and informal communication network of rural communities needs to horizontal and vertical transformation.
In fact, the socioeconomic norms of rural communities which reduce the communication and exchange costs through boosting cooperation among the members of the rural community; are going to be weakened by legal structures.
Unfair distribution of power associating with improper interventions of the state bodies have led to disrupting the free transactions of the rural markets, in a way that; even the traditional bodies are not able to coordinate and systematize the members of the rural communities yet.
In other words, the farmers' benefits due to the membership in the rural cooperatives, based on the current legal structure, are not beneficial and attractive enough for them.
This means that during the last half a century, the social capital of the rural communities damaged. This challenge along with the descending trend of capital injection, depreciation of the infrastructural facilities, repeating droughts, youth migration from rural areas have exacerbated the problem.
We should renovate our gaining by accurate planning and adopting new approaches to bring the rural cooperative network to its previous stance in order to make it a trusted foundation for recreation of social confidence and capacity building of the rural communities. We should believe that by the reproduction of the social capital, we would manage to empower the farmers for capacity building, accepting diversification and sustainable enjoying. Therefore the confidence, security, occupational ties, neighborhood, membership in the rural cooperatives and other guild systems would be reinforced as a response of a genuine rural community.

[i] Agriculture-Jahad Deputy Minister and CEO of Central Organization for Rural Cooperatives of Iran (CORC)

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