Cooperatives are considered shield of the weak. In cooperatives, members with limited mean pool their resources and efforts to achieve much, which otherwise they would not have achieved. Cooperatives are democratic organisation and definition of democracy given by Abraham Lincoln fits perfectly ‘for the people’ ‘by the people’ ‘of the people’. Mankind’s existence is based on food. Food is one of the primary needs of human being. Natural resources in sea, river, land and mountains fulfill food requirements. Agriculture alone is not sufficient to mankind for more than one reason. Fisheries’ industry supplements it to a large extent the food and medicinal requirement. Growth and development of economy accelerates, if the country having such natural resources utilise these resources effectively and efficiently. The fisheries industry gets strengthened by way of mutual cooperation of individual fishermen. An individual faces lacunas in business of fisheries, from collection to storage to process to marketing to infrastructure, to technology to finance needs. This individual strength can be synergies and weakness an individual faces may be eliminated or reduced to form a good fisherman cooperative. The main reason in Indian context (and may be true for other developing countries) lies in their academic, financial and social backwardness. Besides that, fishermen are victims of social inhibitions,superstitions, uncertainties of weather and old technology. India is a unique case in fishermen cooperatives. It is tool to eliminate poverty, and hence important socio-economic development driver. There is one National level federation, under which there are 17 State level federations, 18 District level federation and 13,000 primary societies comprised of 2 million members. The paper highlights strengths and weakness of present fishermen cooperatives and suggests ways to overcome it. It is the cooperative folds that can make enable fishermen to improve their skill, acquire knowledge about technology, market and management. Cooperatives can enhance production, processing, storage, transport capacity and back up finance needs. Thus cooperative organisation may compete International Corporations by adopting professional management skills coupled with cooperative strength.
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Keywords: Fishermen Cooperative, Socio-Economic Development
JEL Classification: L66, Q22, I3