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Thursday, 8 November 2012

Farmers form a marketing organization

Dennis Kipkirui

Farmers in Laikipia County met on Tuesday to chat ways of marketing their produce to improve their livelihood. The meeting was prompted by a maize marketing problem that has hit the County for many years and hampers improvement of their livelihood. Laikipia is currently harvesting their maize and already the prices are sinking low due to influx of brokers.

In a meeting held at the DO’s office Sipili they agreed to form a farmer marketing organization to help them market their produce. The organization dubbed Laikipia Produce and Marketing Organization is primarily tasked with bulking and marketing produce on behalf of the farmers. Members will also get other benefits that include credit services using warehouse receipting system where they will access funds as they wait to sell their produce in a favorable market.

The meeting held on Tuesday was a follow-up on one held a forth-night ago. Earlier one hundred farmers had met and formed the organization affiliated to Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN). The meeting was attended by different players in the agriculture sector. Participants evaluated several reasons that had made many groups to collapse after successful formation.

One major problem identified was leadership. Mr. Joseph Chege, Co-operatives Officer challenged those who have led different groups for a long time with no tangible results to resign. “If you have been leading a group and members are not satisfied by your results. It will be honorable for you to resign. The more you cling on to power the more you create mistrust among your subjects.” He also asked them to desist from using short-cuts to become rich. Many farmers had confessed to rushing to making quick and costly decisions. A case was mentioned of a highly hyped mushroom project t once started in the area. The project saw many people abandon their activities and start mushroom farming which later evaporated to thin air.

 The farmers were also challenged to develop their own strategic plans that will include the lifespan of their group, objectives of the group and their outcomes within a given period. This will help change the lives   of most farmers in Laikipia who have been troubled by the low income they get from their produce.

 It is projected that if farmers take this new mode of marketing seriously they will have better ways of marketing their produce plus a better profit in-return. Ultimately, there will be a tremendous change in their livelihood.
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