By Titus Murithi
Meru County has been described as the mother of the cooperative movement in Kenya. Addressing co operators during celebrations to mark the International Co-operatives Day (Ushirika Day), Meru Governor Peter Munya said the very first co-operatives were started in the County.
Citing the once giant coffee union, the Meru Coffee Co-operative Union (MCCU) as one of the pioneer cooperative movements, the Governor said cooperative unions in Menu were the movers of the economy in the County.
Munya further said that Meru County has seen great cooperative growth as by this year (2016), there were 218 cooperatives, 153 Saccos and 38 dairy unions among other cooperative movements. The Governor noted that his Government had taken serious steps to ensure there are different Saccos for every community member including women, men, the youth and general traders.
“Cooperative unions were mostly found in Meru from their early beginnings in Kenya and even today, most Saccos and other forms of cooperative unions are found in our county,” he said.
These cooperatives are the great movers of our County’s economy and that’s why my Government has embarked on serious improvement of the Saccos and other forms of cooperatives. We started by initiating the youth Saccos, women and general Saccos for our men so that they can save and borrow loans to help them improve their businesses or do anything constructive to improve their economic and financial situations,” said the Governor.
The County Government CEC for Cooperatives Mithiaru Mithika said since independence, co-operative unions have been the main drivers of many infrastructural developments in Kenya as well as improving the economy of local people in rural areas.
He said Kenyans who had joined various co-operative unions like coffee, tea and dairy cooperatives immediately after independence were able to educate their children comfortably without many financial hiccups as they could turn to their cooperatives for readily available financial assistance.
By Titus Murithi