By Titus Muriithi
The Meru County Executive Committee member in charge of co-operatives Mithiaru Mithika has said that it is due to the contributions made by various cooperative unions since independence that Kenya has been able to grow its rural economy.
He points out that through various cooperative unions, especially those in the coffee, tea and dairy industry, many people living in the rural areas have educated their children and cater for other financial needs. An example is coffee co-operatives in Meru, which has enabled members put up huge office blocks such as the Meru Coffee Co-operative Union building in Meru and Imenti House in Nairobi’s Central Business District.
“It is through co-operatives that members have been able to put up commercial buildings, ensured that roads are improved and maintained and assisted many families to take their children to school,” said Mithika.
He disclosed that the County Government was working on a plan to uplift co-operatives in the county, targeting the youth, women and general traders. “It is unfortunate that the youth are not attracted to co-operatives unlike in the independence years when leadership of most Unions was made of young and energetic minds,” said Mithika.
He suggested that forming co-operatives was the only solution to the problems currently facing miraa traders, a popular cash crop grown in Meru. Most miraa farmers remain skeptical following collapse of many miraa co-operative societies in the early 1960s