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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Co-operative launched as a Grain Business Hub

By Bob Aston
The Laikipia Produce and Marketing (LP&M) co-operative society is now being supported by Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) to become one of its “Grain Business Hubs.”A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formalise the process was signed between, LP&MCS, SNV, Eastern African Grain Council (EAGC) and Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) on September 20, 2014 at Timau in Meru County.
The signing was witnessed by officials from the following agencies: The County Government of Laikipia County; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and members of the Mount Kenya North Producers and Marketing Cooperative Society, which hosted the occasion.
A GBH is a business characterised by amalgamation of supportive businesses/services linked to grain business that enables an organisation to trade in grains efficiently, effectively and sustainably; and ensures grain suppliers (farmers) access goods and services through check-off system.
The various officials signing the MOU
It functions as a collective of supportive businesses and services that help the production activities of member farmers. It does this through managing the collection, distribution, and marketing of food products, mainly grains, from farmers and, also, other non-members.
Farmers will now be able to sell their grains to LP&M Co-operative Society GBH, which will buy them in bulk then distribute and sells them to schools and other structured markets.
As a GBH, the co-operative will now be able to supply grains to schools throughout the year in Laikipia County. This is expected to increase access to Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) market by small scale farmers as well as increasing direct purchases from small holder farmers.
This will also enable farmers to sell grains more efficiently and profitably and ensures that they can access any needed goods and services to help them in selling their products. The GBH will also enable farmers to store grains to a standard required by most structured markets.
The Procurement Governance for Home Grown School Feeding (PG-HGSF) which SNV has been implementing has been developing and expanding the Grain Business Hub (GBH) model, an initiative that further strengthens the linkages and capacities smallholder farmers have to school feeding.
ALIN through Ng’arua Maarifa Centre, with support from the Ford Foundation, initiated the formation of the Co-operative. The Co-operative which was formed last year already has more than 290 registered members.
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