Although cooperatives have demonstrated the effectiveness of people working together for their mutual benefit, and there is increasing international awareness of the possible benefits to be derived from collaborative agriculture using modern technological innovations, the farmers in many rural areas still cling to traditional methods. They farm small, scattered plots which by themselves are uneconomic and which taken together barely provide a subsistence living; they do not share machinery and in most cases the cost of purchasing such modern equipment individually is prohibitive. One of the consequences of this situation is that too many individuals are engaged in agriculture compared with the ability of the land to produce under its present system of cultivation, when it tends to be given over to fodder crops and small vegetable plots. This presents a very negative image of farming to young people, who see their parents working long, back-breaking hours in the fields.
One reason for resistance to cooperative agriculture is that farmers in many rural communities are still caught in a pattern of internal competition and conflicting efforts, so that they find themselves operating separately in purchasing, marketing and crop experimentation. For example, farmers who have not contributed to the construction of irrigation improvements are not entitled to water rights, and this isolates them from their fellow farmers. When they come to market their products, the dominance of a single industry in the local town may isolate farmers from other markets where prices are better. These conditions, combined with the traditional hazards of farming – a short growing season, crop failures and frustrating markets – exclude farmers from new agricultural developments. Economic recession means that some farmers will stop farming altogether.