The Governor of Kirinyaga County, Anne Waiguru, has launched 20 ward-based Farmers’ Saccos, which she said are key to unlocking the potential of smallholder farmers.
The Saccos will provide members with affordable operational capital, credit services and information on markets and production practices.
Waiguru said that the initiatives are aimed at strategically positioning farmers engaged in dairy farming, avocado and tomato farming, chick rearing, beekeeping, goat rearing, fish farming and pig rearing to be the top suppliers of raw materials for upcoming processing industries at the Sagana Industrial Park.
“Greater productivity can boost farmers’ income, especially for smallholder farmers who have limited resources to leverage for growing and marketing their produce. Increasing productivity in agriculture is also critical to reducing poverty,” she said.
The Governor noted that cooperatives enable farmers to pool financial and technical resources, thus spreading their costs and drawing from the collective members’ experiences.
“In this initiative, each of the 20 wards will have one Sacco comprised of members drawn from the farmer groups that are being supported by the county government through the Wezesha Kirinyaga programme,” she added.
The Council of Governors (CoG) Chairperson also noted that the cooperatives will enable farmers to access farming inputs, bargain on behalf of members, provide transportation services and market produce on behalf of members.
To support the establishment of the cooperatives, Waiguru said that her administration has set up offices and supplied them with computers and printers to enhance their capacity to deliver high-quality services to members.
“We are also supporting them in the payment of one-year rent for their offices, and we will be paying a one-year salary for a bookkeeper who has already been recruited and trained. We will also pay them one-year statutory fees to enable them to kick off operations successfully,” she said.
The county government had previously supported farmers’ cooperatives with Ksh169.5 million.
By Amos Kerich
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