President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged the Cooperative movement to support the Government’s industrialization efforts by facilitating farmers to engage in value addition of their produce.
President Kenyatta said value addition would ensure farmers earned more than they would if they sold raw farm produce.
The President cited the example of Othaya farmers who are earning more from their coffee because of value addition. “When I toured Nyeri recently, I met Othaya farmers who are now earning Ksh 80 per kilo of coffee because of value addition unlike other areas where most farmers are still earning a meagre Ksh 20,” said the President.
President Kenyatta was speaking today at State House, Nairobi, during a meeting with the leadership of the cooperative movement.
The Head of State pointed out that the co-operative movement and the agricultural sector were inter-twined and they needed to work together to push the country’s industrialization agenda.
He said value addition would not only ensure farmers got more money from their produce but would also help in the creation of jobs for the youth.
The President said the reason the State Department for Co-operative was placed under the Industrialization Ministry was to ensure Kenyan farmers are fully involved in the process of industrialization through value addition activities.
President Kenyatta concurred with the Cooperative leaders on the need to allow Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) operate autonomously considering its unique environment of facilitating SACCOs to provide financial services.
The President also assured dairy farmers who supply milk to the New KCC that once the company gets back to stability, the Government would revert its ownership to them.
The chairman of the Co-operative Alliance of Kenya (CAK) Stanley Muchiri thanked the President and the Government for supporting the sector, saying the support has propelled the movement to greater heights.
Mr Muchiri singled out the Government’s waiving of debts owed by farmers, saying the move has given the industry a new lease of life. He said the movement, which has a membership of over 14 million Kenyans, fully supports the Government in its development agenda.
New KCC chairman Matu Wamae said the company is doing well and thanked the Government for availing Ksh500 million to pay old debts owed by farmers.
Mr Wamae also said the company has used another Ksh500 million provided by the Government to put up a plant which process powdered milk, noting that this would ensure the country has enough milk throughout the year for the domestic and export markets.
He said through the Government’s support the company has doubled its earnings and pay farmers Ksh4.4 billion annually from the previous Ksh2.2 billion.
The Co-operative movement in Kenya is a model of success in Africa with over 22,000 registered co-operatives societies that cut across key economic sectors including agriculture, finance, transport and housing.
Others speakers were Cooperative University Chancellor Joseph Nyaga and Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) chairman Joseph Ole Lenku.
The co-operative leadership was led to State House by Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed and State Department Co-operatives Principal Secretary Ali Noor. (PSCU)