East Africa

Kenyan cooperatives outline challenges facing sector

NAIVASHA-Stakeholders that run cooperatives in kenya  days ago in Naivasha aired the major challenges facing the sector, saying that urgent attention is needed, according to Sacco Review.

They were meeting the Cooperatives & Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui and Permanent Secreary Patrick Kilemi.

Speaking during a consultative meeting on the realignment of cooperative and Saccos activities held by the Cooperative Alliance of Kenya, National Cooperative Housing Union [NACHU] National Chairman Francis Kamande decried the few housing units in the country.

He revealed that Kenyan urban centres need about 2,500,000 housing units but there are only 500,000 housing units.

“We have a shortage of 2,000,000 housing stocks in urban areas. The huge deficit has led to the creation of many slums in urban areas,” he said.

Kamande urged the government to intervene to enable Kenyans living in urban areas have good houses to live in.

“Current statistics from World Bank Report shows that 90 per cent of houses in Kenyan urban and rural areas have been provided by the cooperative societies,” he said, further appealing government to use cooperative societies to build housing units in urban areas.

National Coffee Cooperative Union [NACCU] Chairman Francis Ngone explained that their biggest problem is being denied entry into Nairobi Coffee Exchange an urged the government to help them so as to improve their status.

He explained the achievements of the coffee sector in the development of the country’s economy.

Ngone said NACCU has been spearheading coffee reform agenda since 2016.

“We currently have 31 coffee unions in Kipkelion, Baringo, Gusii, Meru, Muranga , Tharaka , Machakos , Nandi ,Uasin Gishu among others,” he said.

He added that their unions are well structured and are prepared to help the Cooperative Ministry to reach all its members.

Kenya Cooperative of Coffee Exporter [KCCE)] Director Julius Riungu said that there is a big decline in the quantity of coffee being produced.

“Most farmers are aged people who cannot cope with the current topical coffee production and marketing,” he said.

He requested the government to reinforce smart agriculture to all coffee growers in Kenya to cope with the impact of climate change which is affecting the whole world.

Riungu also urged the government to increase investment in coffee research to enable farmers to improve quality coffee production and to facilitate farmers with farm input.

Coffee is one of Kenya’s major cash crops, contributing over Kshs 27 billion in the country.

He added that coffee directly impacts 700,000 small holder farmers in Kenya.

Riungu said KCCE was founded in 2009 and is mandated to promote, organize and undertake value addition of coffee in local and export market.

“We’re also mandated to promote the social and economic standards of all coffee farmers in the country,” he said, adding that the association has 74 shareholders and 73 coffee societies from 31 coffee producing counties in Kenya.

He said that they also have two subsidiaries: Kenya Cooperative Coffee Dealers [KCCD] mandated with the role of value addition and Kenya Cooperative Coffee Millers [KCCM] mandated to mill coffee from farmers.

Riungu noted that the association also identifies the needs of coffee growers and tries to ensure they get the best possible price for the produce.

“Over the last 13 years, we have influenced the increase of prices from Kshs 25 per kilogramme to current Ksh.137 per kilogram,” he said.

The tea cooperative society was represented by Yetu Sacco CEO Denis Mwiti Kirimi who said that most tea farmers have debts which make them not enjoy the fruits of their hard work.

He added that tea contributes to 43 per cent of the country’s GDP hence the government needs to urgently intervene to rescue thousands of tea farmers who are currently suffering.

Ambassador Joshua Terer urged the government to commercialize tea in order to reduce the cost of production and increase the quality of the tea being produced.

“The cost of producing tea is too expensive hence the government needs to rethink on the manual way of picking tea and introduce machines to help in the same,” he said.

Chairman of Kiambu County Dairy Farmers Association Peter Mwangi spoke on behalf of all Diary Cooperative societies in Kenya.

Mwangi revealed that over the recent years, the amount of litres of milk being produced has reduced to as low as 2.5 million litres per day.

He urged President Ruto to intervene in order to rescue dairy farming in the country.

“If given the necessary attention, dairy farming is able to put good money into the hands of both young and old Kenyans,” he said.

He lamented that they do not have a viable market for their produce since a lot of milk in the country is imported.

Mwangi also lamented that the animal feeds being sold to farmers are of low quality yet they are very expensive.

Source: Sacco Review


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