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Cooperative societies challenged to support development of value chains

Cooperatives and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui. PHOTO | File

The Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Cooperatives and Micro, Small and Medium Development Simon Chelugui has challenged Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations(SACCOs) to support the development of different value chains by providing expertise, knowledge, and equipment to uplift the lives of Kenyans.

Chelugui said the National Government has prioritized maize and cereals, sugarcane, tea, artisanal fishing, dairy and artisanal mining, edible oil, coffee, housing, livestock, cotton, Macadamia and avocado among other flagship areas to focus on through cooperative societies.

Speaking in Kakamega during the launch of Invest and Grow(IG) Sacco 2023-2027 strategic plan, CS Chelugui noted that cooperative societies can support the artisanal miners in the acquisition of equipment that is safe and secure and transform gold mines in western provinces to be life-changing.

He said he will soon convene a meeting with all CECs and chief officers in charge of cooperatives to discuss respective cooperatives activities in counties, and map out and allocate resources at the national level to support the priority value chain in each county.
He said through the cooperative approach, the National Government is improving the dairy sector which began with modernization and will follow up with the upgrade of dairy plants in Eldoret, Kitale, Kericho, Runyenjes, Embu, Miritini, Kiganjop and Nyahururu among other regions in the list.

“We are preparing our dairy sector to increase the production of processed milk from 1.5 million liters per day to 4.5 million liters per day. We will be putting up plants in Eldoret for our export market. So we need a similar, corresponding increase in production from areas like Kakamega, Vihiga, even Bungoma areas with good suitable climatic conditions to manage this,” he noted.

He said the government will soon launch a cotton ginnery in Busia as the Ministry of Cooperatives and Micro, Small, and Medium Development works with the Homabay County government to promote palm oil production.

“I challenge other counties around the lakes who have suitable climatic conditions to adapt and promote the growth of palm oil because that will save us a lot of money. We spend over Sh100 to Sh. 200billion in importing edible oils yet we have good climatic conditions that can support the growth of palm trees,” he disclosed.
The CS said the Government is promoting a culture of savings with about 92 000 Kenyans crossing the Sh. 1 million mark in savings according to last week’s SASRA report, urging Saccos to enhance financial literacy.

He noted that the cooperative movement in Kenya has mobilized savings of up to Sh. 1 trillion commanding an impressive asset base of 1.5 trillion and a substantial loan portfolio amounting to Sh.980 billion.

Kenya according to the CS has the largest cooperative movement in Africa and ranks 7th in the World with about 14 million Kenyans registered as members in cooperative societies.

With these milestones, Chelugui noted that other reforms in the sector will promote and grow the sacco sector to a more sustainable level.

He said the enactment of Cooperatives Bill of 2023 will provide a robust legal framework, conducive to fostering competitive and a sustainable cooperative sector within a devolved government system.

“The operationalization of deposit guarantee fund, to safeguard members’ savings and establishment of central liquidity and shared services facility will facilitate Sacco participation in the national payment system and promote inter-Sacco lending. The coffee Bill and regulations as well as the cooperatives regulations which once enacted will set the stage to transform the cooperative sector for national social economic development,” he added.

IG Sacco is celebrating 46 years since its inception in 1977 with a membership base of 33 724, an asset base of Sh. 13.2billion and income of Sh. 664.2 million and a loan portfolio of Sh. 9.8 billion.