The County Government of Bungoma has announced plans to revive dormant cooperative societies in the region.
Speaking to KNA at her office last Thursday, the Chief Officer in Charge of Cooperatives Stella Mutsotso said that farmers should consider joining co-operative societies to boost their earnings.
She promised to provide more technical and financial support to farmers’ co-operatives to strengthen them.
“If farmers join co-operative societies, they will get better returns for their agricultural produce because of their bargaining power. We have a program that targets to offer support in all cooperatives across the county. This program will ensure that dormant cooperative societies are revived and assisted to become operational, “she observed.
She said that farmers have suffered huge losses in the past due to poor market prices and exploitation by middlemen.
To change this situation, the chief officer said that farmers will henceforth undergo training in capacity building and best farming practices as well as get exposed to the benefits of joining Saccos to enable them make informed decisions.
She said that for farmers to benefit from their undertaking, they should join cooperative societies where they can put in their earnings and access loans.
“We will also ensure that farmers get better prices by working out better marketing strategies for them through their respective co-operatives,” said Mrs. Mutsotso.
Bungoma has 42 registered cooperative societies with a membership of over 200,000. Mt. Elgon Sub County lead with 17 cooperatives.
She however noted that most of the cooperatives were dormant adding: “Lack of commitment by members, lack of patience, shifting to other areas and loan defaulting were the major reasons for members’ withdrawal from cooperative societies.”
According to Ms. Mutsotso, rural cooperatives have shown poor performance as compared to those operating in urban areas and education level of leaders and managers highly determined SACCOS’ performance.
She said lack of capital to meet members’ requirements, the small amounts of loans offered and higher interest rates were the major limitations for most SACCOS’ sustainability.
By Roseland Lumwamu