By Munene Maina
Scenes of distraught hunger-stricken people in some parts of the country are not so rare.
Hunger has remained a recurrent problem that the country has struggled to overcome despite measures taken to ensure food security throughout the country.
The National Government has in fact made food security one of its Big Four Agenda.
The Government is banking on among others co-operative societies to boost food security.
Farmers’ co-operative societies countrywide have been in the forefront in enhancing agricultural activities to better yields and earning.
One of such societies is Ng’arua Cereals and Produce Co-operative. It has made major steps in addressing food security.
Started in 1992 as a self-help group by 40 farmers, the society is credited with changing farmers’ fortune.
Since its registration in the year 2008 as co-operative for farmers in Laikipia West, they are making fruitful efforts in their activities. Besides improving yields, the society has stabilised produce prices and improved livelihoods. The society also insures farmers produce minimising losses. The society ensures members have enough food before selling the surplus to the market.
Kagiri said by ensuring members do not sell their produce during harvesting time when the market is saturated, farmers are able to increase their income.
Through the assistance of East Africa Grain Council, the society has been able to improve on grains’ management reducing loss significantly.
It has also partnered with Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), Kenya Seed, OTC Fertiliser and Mea Fertiliser. The partnerships have enabled farmers in areas such as Sipili, Gituamba and some areas bordering Baringo County to upgrade their farming methods.
Society members own shares through their produces and are able to get advances of up to 40 per cent of their shares in cash.They are also able to acquire farm inputs at subsidised prices from society’s one stop Agro shop.
Majority of the co-operatives members are maize, wheat, beans and sorghum farmers.