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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Kanyuka farmers urged to embrace Co-operatives

By Regina Wokabi

Farmers in Kanyuka village of Ng’arua Division in Laikipia County have been urged to join co-operatives. Speaking during a farmers meeting on January 14, 2014, Pauline Wanjiru, from Maleo Community Development Program, informed the farmers that Amiran and Chase bank will be visiting the area to see various projects that they can fund.
“I talked with Amiran and Chase bank and they agreed that they will come and see how they can help farmers here,” said Pauline.
Pauline urged the farmers to join Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society as joining cooperatives has immense benefits as well as it will give them good bargaining power when selling their farm produce.
“The way to go these days is through Co-operatives. Co-operatives offer good market prices to producers for selling their produce, thus increasing farm income,” said Pauline.
Pauline addressing some of the farmers
Chase Bank and Amiran Kenya are currently in a partnership to extend new credit opportunities to farmers and youth, that will enable them to purchase Amiran’s modern agricultural technologies, to boost their farm produce as well as empower the youth economically.
Bob Aston from Ng’arua Maarifa Centre informed the farmers that Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) through Ng’arua Maarifa Centre, under a program funded by the Ford Foundation initiated the formation of the Co-operative to help farmers bulk produce, particularly maize. The Co-operative which was formed last year already has more than 200 registered members.
“ALIN is currently offering advisory support services, capacity building, information access and empowerment to the members of the Co-operative,” said Bob.
Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society is said to be spearheading  market access initiatives using modern technologies, supporting community needs assessments and information dissemination, organizing trainings, networking and capacity building for farmers, mobilizing the farming communities into common interest producer groups ,enabling farmers to access input and bulk their produce for easier marketing, promoting quality control and post harvest handling as well as supporting farmers and local communities to access information on farming.
“I am personally going to join the Co-operative. I believe that co-operatives offer lower prices for farm inputs by making use of economies of scale like purchasing in bulk and negotiating for lower prices of inputs than individual farmer could achieve,” said George Ng’anga, a farmer at Kanyuka.
The farmers are now set to hold a meeting with Amiran and Chase bank officials tomorrow to discuss on various projects that they want to be funded.

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