|Institution:||University of Ottawa|
|Keywords:||Rwanda; Rural development; Cooperatives; Co-operatives; Post-development; Rice farming|
|Full text PDF:||http://hdl.handle.net/10393/31022|
The Rwandan countryside is currently undergoing a process of rapid reform under ambitious government programs to modernize agriculture for participation in national and international markets. While the government asserts that it is pursuing pro-poor growth, many critics present significant evidence to the contrary. This thesis examines the use of farmers cooperatives within the ongoing government campaign of agricultural modernization, and it asks whether the co-ops themselves are sources of personal empowerment and material gain for the small producers. Adopting the “sceptical” post-development position advanced by Aram Ziai, the present research attempts to take a pragmatic look at the ways in which the co-ops meet or fail to meet the material and non-material needs of their members while appreciating that cultural preferences are heterogeneous and dynamic. While the use of farmers cooperatives appears appropriate for the Rwandan marshland, the co-ops examined very much fall short of the post-development social movement model.