FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE EVALUATION OF FOREST VILLAGE COOPERATIVES: A MULTI-CRITERIA TOPSIS APPROACH
ABSTRACT Forest villagers constitute the poorest of the society in underdeveloped and developing countries. Efforts for the rural development of forest villages are important for combating poverty, regulating the relationship with forest villagers, and ensuring sustainable management of forests, since rural people subsist on forest lands. As the most important method of executing an organized movement in such settlement areas, cooperatives represent one of the most crucial actors in rural development. However, it seems that cooperatives cannot provide adequate contribution to the rural development in Turkey. This research analyses the financial performance of the cooperatives operating in the forest villages located within the boundaries of Bucak and Sutculer forest districts, where forestry activities are carried out intensively in Turkey. This study uses the TOPSIS method, which is a multi-criteria decision-making method. The results of the study revealed that the financial performances of all of the cooperatives were low during the years when they were analysed. The most important reasons for low financial performance include the fact that: (i) the cooperatives mainly operated in the field of wood production and the business volume in that field was inadequate, (ii) their capital was insufficient since the members assumed a lower share, (iii) they had challenges accessing constant funds for investment, (iv) the state subsidies decreased, (v) the number of members was low, and (vi) they were unable to compete with large companies.