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Friday, 10 July 2015

Cooperators re-energize themselves as they celebrate Ushirika Day

By Bob Aston
The Laikipia County cooperators and the county government joined the rest of the world in marking the international co-operative day, better known in Kenya as Ushirika Day at Ng’arua Dairy cooperative Society in Kinamba, Laikipia West Sub County on July 4, 2015. This year’s theme was “choose cooperative, choose equality.”
The event which was graced by Laikipia County governor Hon Joshua Irungu saw cooperators from Laikipia County look back and take stock of the achievements that they had made as well as re-energize themselves to grow cooperative entreprises into strong organisations from which they can all derive sustainable incomes.
On December 16, 1992, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed in resolution 47/90 the first Saturday of July 1995 to be International Day of Cooperatives. Since 1995 the United Nations' International Day of Co-operatives has been observed jointly alongside International Co-operative Day on the first Saturday of July every year.
Speaking during the event, Laikipia County Governor Hon Joshua Irungu said that he is committed to giving complete support to the cooperative societies in the county. He noted that the launch of Kinamba milk cooler will help farmers in the region to store milk before it is delivered to factories. This he said will help to reduce wastage that occur during transportation.
He said that the Country government will disburse Kshs 8 million to cooperatives in this financial year while promising that the funds will be increased in the next financial year. He promised active cooperatives that the County government will issue them with maize dryer so that they can be able to reduce post harvest maize losses.
The governor at one of the exhibition stand during the event
At independence, Kenya had 1,030 registered co-operative societies with a total share capital of Ksh.100,000. To date, the number has grown to over 16,000 registered cooperative societies with a membership of over 13 million and a turn-over of over Kshs.100 billion.
Currently, cooperatives employ over 500,000 people directly with 63 percent of the Kenyan population deriving their livelihood directly from cooperative-based economic activities. According to the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), Kenya's cooperative movement is the fastest growing in the world and is ranked the best in Africa and the 7th best in the World.
The Speaker of the County Assembly of Laikipia, Hon Patrick Mariru said that the County government has recognized the transformational space and place of cooperatives and has thus enacted Laikipia Cooperatives Societies Act 2015.
“This law when fully applied will transform the cooperative landscape in our county. It also establishes an innovative fund. I am convinced the cooperative is the way to go for Laikipia people, “said Hon. Mariru.
In Laikipia County, there are 118 active cooperatives with over 29,165 members and Kshs 1.65 billion as share capital.  Cooperatives in the county have also given out loans worth Kshs 2.15 billion and have a total asset of Kshs. 2.5 billion.
Waweru Kanja, Chairman Laikipia Produce and Marketing Cooperative Society noted that the plans that the Laikipia County Government have for the cooperative movement are noble and would help built the capacities of cooperatives if well implemented.
He said that the recently enacted Laikipia Cooperative Societies Act 2015 has addressed major issues that affect operations of the cooperative movement.
Due to its nature of mobilizing communities into economic activities, the cooperative movement has been proven to play an active role in poverty alleviation, employment creation, food security and equitable distribution of natural resources.
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