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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

ALIN and Laikipia cooperative re-strategizes on foresight of the cooperative

By Bob Aston
The Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) organized a two days planning workshop on May 5-6, 2015 at Ng’arua Maarifa Centre in Sipili town, Ol-Moran Ward to re-strategize and strengthen its partnership with Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society. Speaking during the workshop Mr. Anthony Mugo, ALIN Deputy Director said that ALIN will continue capacity building the cooperative members in order to improve their livelihood.
Mr. Mugo addressing the cooperative committee members
Mr. Mugo said that through support from Ford Foundation, the cooperative will be capacity built particularly on how to enhance member’s capacity to harness tomato, tree tomato and maize value chains.

The capacity building trainings will aim to improve the agricultural value chain for members as a way of improving production, enhancing post-harvest care of their produce as well as its quality.
“The members will be capacity build in management, business plan, resource mobilization, how to make use of Sokopepe and see how to take advantage of the market. The cooperative will also be assisted in establishment of three aggregation centers and membership recruitment, “said Mr. Mugo.
The workshop was attended by the cooperative committee members, ALIN, Kilimo Biashara Profilers (KBP) and a cooperative officer.
Mr. Mugo informed the cooperative committee members that the SOKO+ platform will be upgraded and the cooperative members will be trained on SOKO+ SMS platform. This will enable farmers to access commodity prices from major markets as well as farming tips.
Mr. Anthony Githuku, Cooperative officer addressing the cooperative commitee members
The net effect of using SOKO+ is that farmers can reduce their transaction costs, and through commodity aggregation they can have more power for negotiation for better prices, bulk discounting of inputs and further reach into desirable markets.
On his part, Mr. Noah Lusaka, ALIN Project Manager urged all members of the cooperative to join Farm Records Management Information System (FARMIS). He said that use of FARMIS will enable individual cooperative members to identify productivity trends and profitability of different farm enterprises which they can use in decision making.
“Proper record keeping is important as it will help you to know whether you are making a profit or loss. When you keep your records well it will be easier to monitor your farming activities. This will enable you as a farmer to practice agribusiness,” said Mr. Lusaka.
At the end of the two days’ workshop the committee members were able to develop a one year work plan which will guide the operations of the cooperative for the rest of the year.
The Laikipia Produce and Marketing cooperative society emerged from the work undertaken by ALIN through Ng’arua Maarifa Centre with the support of the Ford Foundation’s Expanding Livelihoods for Poor Households Initiative (ELOPHI). It is a vehicle for bulking, marketing and trading in farm commodities and other products and services.
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