President Uhuru Kenyatta has attributed the rapid growth of the cooperative sector to the policy reforms the Government has implemented since 2013.
The President noted that the reforms have helped the sector to play its rightful role towards achievement of the Big 4 Agenda pillars of manufacturing, food security and affordable housing.
“In manufacturing, my Administration has prioritized reforms for the revitalization of various sub-sectors where cooperatives are involved in areas such as agro-processing and value addition in coffee, cotton and dairy to name but a few,” the President said.
President Kenyatta spoke on Saturday at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre where led the country in celebrating the 100th International Co-operatives Day.
The President cited the revival of the Kenya Planters Cooperative Union as one of fruits of the reforms that have directly benefitted coffee farmers.
“As part of this revitalization programme, my Administration incorporated the new Kenya Planters’ Cooperative Union Ltd (New KPCU) in 2019 after liquidation of the old KPCU, which was bedevilled by a myriad of challenges,” President Kenyatta said.
The Head of State said through the reforms the New KPCU was able to establish a Cherry Revolving Fund of Kshs 3 billion, institute a farm inputs subsidy programme of Kshs 1 billion as well as refurbish coffee drying tables.
He added that the new entity has also been able to provide sustainable solutions to thousands of coffee farmers through milling and marketing services, pointing out that the New KPCU has provided milling and marketing services to 236 cooperative societies and 92 coffee estates.
“The benefits of the New KPCU are already noticeable; the New KPCU charges farmers USD 40 per ton of milled coffee as compared to USD 65 per ton, charged for the same services by private millers. So far, the New KPCU has milled 1,828 tons of coffee,” President Kenyatta said.
The President said the reforms also helped to stabilize the dairy sub-sector through the modernization and expansion of the New Kenya Cooperative Creameries factories across the country, leading to a steady growth in the number of dairy co-operatives.
“This initiative has had a positive social-economic impact in the dairy sector through the stabilization of milk prices at farmer and consumer levels, due to efficient processing and packaging capabilities. Moreover, with its increased processing capacity, the New KCC has been enabled to take up excess milk from farmers, thereby averting losses at farm level and providing a much-needed ready market for their produce,” he said.
On rice farming, President Kenyatta said the Government-led reforms saw the revival of the Kenya National Trading Corporation that enabled the sector to increase production and ensured farmers have access to markets for their produce at competitive prices.
Other areas that benefitted from the co-operative sector reforms include the cotton industry where the Government is implementing recommendations of a task force geared towards revitalizing old and obsolete cotton cooperative ginneries as well as building new ones.
On Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisation (SACCOs), President Kenyatta said the implementation of the Sacco Societies (Non-Deposit Taking Sacco Business) Regulations 2020 that commenced in January 2021 have helped to double the number of SACCOs under prudential regulation of Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) to 360.
“I note with appreciation that over the period 2014 to 2021, the SACCO industry has registered remarkable growth. In terms of membership, the number has risen from 3 million in 2014 to 5.5 million in 2021.” said the President