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Thursday, 18 December 2014

Laikipia Co-operative holds meeting to take stock of its activities

By Bob Aston

The Laikipia Produce and Marketing (LP&M) co-operative society on December 17, 2014 held a meeting at Sipili Catholic Church Hall, Ol-Moran Ward to update the cooperative members about the various activities that they have undertaken during the year and the activities that they intend to undertake in 2015. The meeting which was supported by Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) was also attended by Kilimo Biashara Profilers (KBP).
The members were informed that the cooperative was appointed to become a Grain Business Hub (GBH), under the Netherlands Development Organizations (SNVs) Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP).
Mr. Waweru Kanja, Chairman, Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society informed the members that as a GBH, the co-operative will now be able to supply grains to schools throughout the year in Laikipia County. This he said will increase access to Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) market by members of the cooperative.
Mr. Kanja addressing the cooperative members
He noted that as a result of engagement with other partners like ALIN, SNV, Eastern African Grain Council (EAGC), MEA Ltd, Kilimo Biashara Profilers, Kenya Seed Company Ltd and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock the cooperative has been able to reach out to its members with a variety of services and also has increased its membership, sales and community good will.
The members were also informed that the cooperative has created a close link with schools under HGSFP courtesy of SNV and ALIN through match making meetings with schools food committees and head teachers.
They were informed that SNV committed itself in provision of office equipment (a laptop computer and a printer) to facilitate efficient running of the cooperative’s work and to support for other allied capacity building needs for the co-operative through training, linkages with markets and input service providers as well as hands on coaching on sound business management.
The members were also informed that SNV will support the cooperative to appoint a full time manager for six months. Mr. Kanja said that they conducted the interviews for the Co-operative Manager on December 16, 2014 and the selected candidate will be presented to the members in January 2014.
The Cooperative banner
“We now have a company personal identification number from the Kenya Revenue Authority. We are in the process of acquiring cooperative agency and mobile money transfer services,” said Mr. Kanja.

The members were informed that during the year, ALIN supported the cooperative in branding: design and production of a company logo, banners and acquiring a company seal for the cooperative.
ALIN has also has committed itself to supporting the cooperative by availing Information and communication technology (ICT) services through the Ng’arua Maarifa Centre, supporting farmers to keep accurate farm records and where possible, support the cooperative to implement prioritised capacity building areas.
Mrs. Veronica Kemunto, Secretary Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society informed the members that the membership of the cooperative increased from 176 in 2013 to 400 in 2014. She said that the cooperative has sold 60 tonnes of fertilizer worth Ksh 3,300,000 and 26 tonnes of seeds worth Ksh 3,900,000.
She said that member’s shares contribution has increased from 689,900 in 2013 to over 700,000 in 2014. She urged the members to buy more shares in order for the cooperative to have enough funds that they can invest in supplying cereals through HGSFP. She also noted that the membership fee collection increased from 60,400 to 120,500 due to new members joining the cooperative.
The Laikipia Produce and Marketing cooperative society that emerged from the work undertaken by ALIN with the support of the Ford Foundation’s Expanding Livelihoods for Poor Households Initiative (ELOPHI) serves farmers in Laikipia. It is a vehicle for bulking, marketing and trading in farm commodities and other products and services.
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