By Titus Murithi.
Dhabiti Sacco Society Limited situated in Maua town, Igembe South Sub County of Meru County is targeting to uplift the lives of Miraa farmers as well as traders in the area.
This society has embarked on an intensive community outreach training programme that is targeting to educate Miraa farmers as well as traders on the importance of savings. This is to enable them use their earnings to save and later take loans to boost their business and diversify to other profitable ventures.
Mrs Carol Thananga, Manager at the Maua branch of the Sacco says the society is pleased working with small scale Miraa traders and farmers and is encouraged by the progress these groups have made so far.
She said that there are members who are either Miraa farmers or traders, who have taken up loans to expand their businesses and put up decent houses, connect pipe water and educate their children.
“The cultivation of Miraa brings in a lot of cash to those cultivating it. If earnings from Miraa is put into savings and then lent out to members to put up projects, then the livelihood of these farmers will improve significantly, said Mrs Thananga.
She cites a number of Miraa traders and farmers who have been successful in their businesses after joining the Sacco and taking out loans.
Among Dhabiti Sacco members who deal with Miraa and who got loans after saving to boost their businesses and are now successful include Mr Jediel Kaiyongi and Ms Doreen Nkatha.
Kaiyongi, who is a coffee factory manager, owns about 80 Miraa stems. He got to know about Dhabiti Sacco after joining the coffee factory and noticing that coffee farmers were being paid through the Sacco and given loans to invest in other business ventures.
With no coffee trees, Kaiyongi decided to save his proceeds from Miraa trade with Dhabiti Sacco. He took his first loan to expand his Miraa business at the nearby Muringine market. He took the second loan to diversify into dairy farming by buying grade cows and selling milk. Kaiyongi used proceeds from Miraa trade to repay the loan.
He used the third loan to put up a modern house where he now resides with his family and used the proceeds from Miraa to repay the loan.
Mrs Doreen Nkatha, a Miraa farmer and trader says her links with Dhabiti Sacco are inseparable Siamese twins. She is presently servicing a Sh 400,000 loan from Dhabiti Sacco, money that she has used to purchase a plot of land and is putting up an ultra-modern residential house for her family.
Doreen and her husband manage the Miraa business and have used these proceeds to purchase pieces of land, planted Miraa and constructed rental houses in a nearby shopping center. The couple is also operating two bars and run a successful dairy farm.