SMEs appeal for help to venture into sustainable productions 

Small rural based enterprises, especially women groups in Embu county, have appealed for help from various experts in the cooperative movement to help them create ecofriendly products.

One such enterprise is Kiritiri Kwimenya Self Help Group which makes eco-friendly Kiondo bags from sisal fibre. The bags are mainly sold through barter trade with maize growers in Kirinyaga, Nyahururu, Nyandarua and Nyeri counties.

In an interview with Sacco Review at the University of Embu grounds during the Embu County Small and Medium Enterprises Exposition, the group’s chairlady Josephine Nduma said in the wake of expanded adoption of technology, financial institutions, the government and donor agencies can help them acquire modern machines to go into large scale production of Kiondo and other sisal packaging products, ropes and threads even for biodegradable gurney bags.

She urged to come up with a special fund where women groups can be incorporated into large scale productions.

Nduma noted that the demand for Kiondo bags is expanding in international markets as a growing number of international firms are  keen to protect the environment from pollution hence adopted the use of Kiondo bags among other sisal based shopping bags.

“We have the potential to expand our production of Kiondo, employ modern style decorations to conquer the local, regional and international markets where potential has been on the growth,” she said.

The group aspires to register as a Sacco and it has already launched marketing campaigns to register up to 30 new members.

“Since 2015, members have earned good income from the sale of Kiondo bags. Already each member owns a whole package of outside catering utensils, 3000 litre plastic water tanks and dairy goats,” she explained.

Nduma says each members can make up to 13 Kiondo bags weekly which are sold to ensure during weekly merry go round forums, each member takes home Ksh8,000.

“In a month we generate up to Ksh50, 000 and if that money is saved in a Sacco, we can access bigger loans and have our products marketed and sold for better prices in emerging markets,” she said.

Irima Njeru, a member of the group, expressed optimism that the repackaged Hustlers’ Fund loans targeting registered groups will reach ordinary rural folk especially women groups.

By Robert Nyagah

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