Governor underscores critical role of cooperatives in socio-economic development

Kericho county Governor Dr. Erick Mutai has underscored the critical role played by the co-operative movement in the economic growth of the region.

Speaking during this year’s Ushirika Day celebrations held at Kericho Primary School, the governor said the investments and contributions of local cooperative societies have the greatest impact in poverty eradication at the grassroot level.

The governor said he had witnessed firsthand the contributions made by the societies in Kericho County.

“I personally have benefitted from our local societies and I have witnessed many people who have improved their farming and completed their education through taking manageable loans from their cooperatives. The impact is great and should be boosted,” he explained.

He stated that his administration is fully committed to supporting the cooperative societies operating in the county.

“In this financial year, my administration put a lot of resources towards the strengthening of Saccos in various sectors such as coffee, tea, sugarcane and dairy,” he explained.

He said the county will roll out a Cooperative Revolving Fund where funds will be set aside and entrusted to various Saccos to lend out to their members at very reasonable interest rates.

The governor further stated that the only viable way of improving the local economy was through boosting agricultural production which consequently reduces the cost of living.

“To that end, the county has started the construction of a maize mill in Kedowa that will boost the production of maize,” he explained.

Dr. Mutai also promised to set out modalities where the county ICT personnel will partner with cooperatives in digitizing and upgrading their computer systems.

Ushirika Day Celebrations Committee Chair Wesley Ngeno, who is also Simba Chai Sacco CEO, said the government recognizes Saccos as the drivers of the Big Four Agenda.

County Cooperative Commissioner Dr. Leonard Otii urged cooperatives to diversify into other income generating activities to avoid pitfalls associated with dependence on one source of income.

Stakeholders in the sugarcane industry urged the county government to consider setting up a sugarcane research institute in the county since the sector has a huge unexploited potential which can easily be harnessed through research.

Cooperators marching towards the venue.

This year’s celebrations attracted several corporate participants such as Imarisha Sacco, Ndege Chai Sacco, Simba Chai Sacco, Patnas Sacco, Stima Sacco, Kenya Highlands Sacco, Kabianga Cooperative Farmers’ Society and Mwalimu Sacco among others.

By Benedict Ng’etich

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