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Government to support artisans market their products via online platforms

Cooperatives and MSMEs Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui has affirmed the government’s commitment to support those engaged in various artisan works.

Chelugui on Monday divulged that plans are underway to establish various apps to help in marketing products of artisans in the country.

He noted that through digital marketing, products of artisans will attract buyers across the globe saying this will uplift livelihoods of the artisans.

The CS was speaking during Kigumo basket weavers’ expo and fundraiser, an event that was organised by nominated senator Veronica Maina.

He said the artisans need to form cooperatives so as to access financial assistance from the government, saying farmers especially those in coffee, dairy and avocado are getting a huge boost from government funds.

“I am pleased to see the products of the weavers from this area. The baskets are of high quality and what is needed is just to market the products online. The government is establishing various marketing apps where the artisans will upload their products to seek local and international buyers,” he noted.

Chelugui who was accompanied by his gender and land counterparts, Aisha Jumwa and Alice Wahome respectively noted that by joining cooperatives, the artisans will also have opportunities to access various government funds.

“The government has various funds aimed at supporting youth and women. I urge the weavers to form a cooperative and apply for financing from the Women Enterprise Fund or from the Uwezo Fund. This support will ensure they produce high-quality products to meet international standards,” he added.

The CS further noted that through other agencies like Kenya Industrial Estates (KIE), the National Youth Opportunities Towards Advancement Project (NYOTA) and the Hustler Fund, the government is committed to promoting MSMES through funding, training and capacity building as part of the Bottom Up Economic Transmission Agenda (BETA).

His sentiments were echoed by Jumwa, who said the Uwezo fund is meant to uplift the livelihoods of women and asked the women who have majored in weaving to source financial support from the fund.

The gender CS observed that her ministry has also developed Sanaa App to help various women groups market their products.

Marketing via the internet, Jumwa noted, is more profitable as the mode locks out brokers in the value chain.

“The important factor is to help our women access markets without being exploited by middlemen. The ministry of gender has already developed the Sanaa app to help those engaged in artisanal work market their products,” she added.

Jumwa further said the ministry is working to ensure funds are allocated in the next national budget to assist women groups in accessing raw materials for making their products.

Availability of materials, she observed, will prevent the women from using low-quality materials leading to production of goods of poor quality.

Lands CS on her part lauded the event organised by the nominated senator saying the expo will greatly impact the economy at grassroots as it directly involves empowering women who practice weaving so that they can find market for their products locally and internationally.

Wahome promised to source funds for completion of two markets in Kigumo namely Muthithi and Kangari so as to promote trading activities in the area.

The nominated senator said that her target is to see women’s products marketed, saying the members have been weaving quality baskets for many years without better gains.

Ms Maina said the money raised in the event will go a long way towards helping the members of the group whose majority are elderly and face challenges in accessing raw materials to make the baskets.

By Bernard Munyao

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