ABSTRACT In Ethiopia, agriculture has been at the center of the development strategy. To improve the prevailing low level of production and productivity, the government has been undertaking financial sector reform, to help boosting agricultural production and alleviating rural poverty. In cognizant to the need for rural financial services as articulated in ADLI strategy, RUSACCO are being promoted to cater financial services to farmers. Farmers have also started to use RUSACCO to improve their living standards, despite a number of challenges. Therefore, this study aims to identify the determinants of rural household decision to join rural saving and credit cooperative program (RUSACCO) in Doba district, West Hararghe zone. Data were collected from 140 randomly selected respondents from Doba district, of which 70 were credit users and 70 of them were non- usersâ€™ households. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the determinants of rural household decision to join rural saving and credit cooperative program. Qualitative data were analyzed through interpretation, narration, and finally complement the Descriptive analysis. The key finding of this study revealed that social factor, economic factor and institutional factor were identified in study as factors that determine farmersâ€™ decision to join RUSACCO in the study area. The survey results revealed that age, education level, total land holding, access to irrigation farm, cash crop, farm size and participation in off-farm/non-farm activities were significant determinants of farmers decision to join rural saving and credit cooperative program. Results of the study concluded that policy makers and development seekers must give attention and high priority to improve lending policies towards the demand of local farmers to provide efficient credit for increased impact. Due attention has to be given to those significant variables which have a potential impact in determining household decision to join rural saving and credit cooperative program in the study area.
Keywords: evelopment strategy, rural financial services, boosting agricultural production, Ethiopia, Farmers, rural saving and credit cooperative program (RUSACCO), local demand.