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Govt lays out measures to transform cooperatives

Cooperatives Development Principal Secretary Patrick Kilemi has expressed the government’s commitment and dedication to strengthening cooperative societies.

In a speech read on his behalf by the Commissioner for Cooperatives, Samwel Kiptoo, during the training of 35 ward cooperatives, Kilemi emphasized the bottom-up transformation agenda’s focus on boosting agricultural production and value addition to increase manufacturing contribution from the current 7.8% to 15% by 2027.

The Western region is poised to significantly contribute to economic transformation, particularly in agricultural production and promoting MSMEs, with cooperatives playing a crucial role as economic enablers and value chain elevators.

He added that collaboration between Strathmore University School of Business and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to build the capacity of cooperatives and other sector players in selected seven counties will augur well with the government’s efforts to promote and transform agriculture through cooperative business models.

The PS further disclosed that the government plans to aid farmers in the value chain through cooperatives, enablers, and aggregators to boost economies of scale, increase incomes, and create employment opportunities.

Kilemi also reported an increase in Sacco’s growth, with 359 registered Saccos currently having a membership of 6.4 million.

The government is also promoting cotton cultivation in the county, aiming to increase national annual production from 20,000 bales to over 100,000 bales by 2027.

The PS stated that the decision will decrease the need for cotton imports and provide support to local cotton mills, hence the need to invest in cotton production by enhancing the capacity of cotton cooperatives, providing farm-level resources, processing facilities, and credit.

Meanwhile, the Busia County Government has been urged to collaborate with the private sector to boost the Muluanda cotton industry by increasing value addition through animal feeds, edible oils, and other byproducts.

The PS also said the government had invested in the new Kenya Cooperative Creameries to acquire and improve on its machinery and increase its processing capacity from 300,000 litres five years ago to 850,000 litres per day currently.

This financial year, the processor has received an increased monetary allocation to handle excess milk produced during rainy seasons and convert it into powder to stabilise milk prices, he added.

On his part, Busia Governor Dr. Paul Otuoma welcomed the move, adding that it will equip the local farmers to prepare for the long-awaited Nasewa Industrial Park and Export Promotion Zone, whose construction is currently ongoing.

The programme targets other counties, including Kakamega, Kisumu Nakuru, Isiolo Makueni, and Kilifi.

By Salome Alwanda

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