Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has issued a cheque worth Kshs. 42.54 million to farmers groups engaged in various agricultural value chain projects. The money will be shared among 204 groups to enable them increase production and productivity for food security and poverty reduction.
Waiguru said the funding under Wezesha Kirinyaga program will support farmers engaged in dairy cattle rearing, avocado faming, tomatoes farming, chicken rearing, bee keeping, dairy goat rearing, fish, pig rearing and egg hatching among others.
The governor also launched 20 ward based multi-value chain farmers Savings and Credit Cooperatives (Saccos) which she said are key to unlocking smallholder farmers potential. The Saccos are expected to provide members with affordable operational capital, savings and credit services and information on markets and production practices.
Waiguru said the initiatives are aimed at strategically positioning the farmer to be the number one suppliers of raw materials for upcoming processing industries in the Sagana Industrial Park.
“Greater productivity can boost farmers’ income, especially for smallholder farmers, who have limited resources to leverage on growing and marketing their produce. Increasing productivity in agriculture is also critical to reducing poverty,” the governor said.
The Council of Governors (COG) Chair said cooperatives are an important vehicle that enables farmers to pool financial and technical resources thus spreading their costs and drawing from the collective members’ experiences. She added that each of the 20 wards will have one Sacco comprised of members drawn from the farmers groups that are being supported by the county government through the Wezesha Kirinyaga program.
She listed several benefits of Cooperatives like increasing access to high-quality farming inputs, bargaining on behalf of members, providing transportation and marketing produce on behalf of members. “Eventually, the Saccos will be able to offer e-voucher program for subsidized farm inputs, provide crop and livestock insurance as well as aggregate and market the farmers’ produce,” she opined.
The funding is the 2nd batch of the Third Phase of financial support for the groups. The county government has previously disbursed a total of Ksh. 380.2 M out of which Ksh. 210.7M was given to farmers groups and Kshs. 169.5 went to farmers cooperatives.
To support the establishment of the cooperatives, Waiguru said her administration has supported the farmers set up offices and supplied them with computers and printers to enhance their capacity in delivering high quality services to the members.
“We are also supporting them in payment of one year rent for their offices and we will be paying one year salary for a book-keeper who has already been recruited and trained, we will also pay for them one-year statutory fees to enable them kick off operations successfully,” said Waiguru.
The governor said the Saccos have already mobilized 1,666 members and Kshs. 2.9 million in terms of savings, share capital and registration. She urged all farmers to join the cooperatives in their respective wards in order to benefit from a variety of services they offer.