Co-operative Union boss inspires many after conferment of doctorate degree

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By Oanga Oyugi

The recent award of a doctorate degree to Kisii Farmers’ Cooperative Union CEO Dr.Robert Nyabaro Mainya has impacted positively on employees of the giant cooperative as many of them have started pursuing higher education.

Dr. Mainya, who has steered the Union for over 10 years, was among several graduates who were honoured during the 10th graduation of the Kisii university late last year. The organization won the confidence of three non-governmental organizations who have accepted to partner with them to boost coffee farming.

The investors; WI-Effect from Sweden, Agri Terra Investors from the Netherlands and Oiko Credit from Sweden, will be supplying farm inputs and giving soft loans to small scale coffee growers to meet their financial and economic needs.

Dr. Mainya, an alumni of both the Kenyatta University and Kisii University, attained his Phd in strategic management, which he has been studying since 2015. He was driven by a realization of the need to lead his working team at the Union to pursue their studies so that they keep abreast with evolving global trends.

Dr. Mainya revealed that he used to start his lessons at the Kisii university from 4 am to 8 am, then 4 pm to 9 pm daily.  He resolutely wrote his thesis despite his tight schedules, which, not surprisingly, had coffee as the subject matter. It can be accessed on the internet or the Kisii university libraries.

His bold step to pursue further education amidst career and family responsibilities motivated many people, many of whom are working in various institutions within the Kisii region and more particularly the county governments of Kisii and Nyamira.

Union employees who were interviewed said delayed salaries, which even went for several months, was now a thing of the past because of better management. Leadership wrangles within branches had also abated as all committees had ironed out their differences.

The Union has been transformed to the level where they have their own coffee miller, having cleared debts owed suppliers. In the past, auctioneers used to camp at the Union offices in an attempt to attach properties.

Dr.Mainya has a great vision for the Union and the coffee sector in general. He said the future was bright and his desire was to see a transformed sector while he was still at the helm.

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