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Kenya has the best Cooperative Movement in Africa

08 July 2013, 13:48 Samuel Kisika

The Cooperative Movement in Kenya is ranked in first position in Africa and seventh globally with over 15 000 registered cooperative societies according to the International Cooperative Alliance.

Addressing the Cooperative societies' members in marking the 91st International Cooperative Day on Saturday, Adan Mohamed, the Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization and Enterprise Development said that Kenya's Cooperative enterprises remain strong and sustainable relevant to the year's theme 'Cooperative enterprise remains strong in times of crisis'.

Mohamed said the Sacco-sector plays a key role in economic development through provision of financial access to many citizens and has mobilized domestic savings to a tune of KES 400 billion relative to 33% of national savings while boasting an asset base of KES 300 billion.

"It is projected that savings will reach KES 700 billion mark with the registration of Saccos for Kenyans in the diaspora, and last year the department registered two Saccos in America and England," said Mohamed.

"We are also targeting to register more Saccos in countries with high Kenyan concentration as this would assist them to make structured remittances and facilitate investment at home," he added.

Mohamed said his Ministry has already posted County Cooperative Commissioners and County Cooperative Directors of Audit all the 47 counties, expressing optimism that Cooperative leaders would engage the officers in revitalization of County Cooperative unions that play vital role in farm input supplies and distribution.

He said the revitalization would make farmers enjoy economies of scale while ensuring timely availability of inputs such as fertilizers, animal feeds, as well as stabilizing prices. He added that the Ministry has also promoted the formation of County Cooperative Development Committees to coordinate the Cooperative agenda in various Counties.

The Cabinet Secretary also said the government has prioritized value addition to agricultural produce in Vision 2030 and remains the best option for enhanced service delivery to farmers and overall success of agricultural cooperatives other than marketing the produce in their raw form.

Mohamed further said the Ministry has established the Cooperative Development Policy that aims at empowering the youth through promotion of youth cooperatives, capacity building and financing of projects managed by youths and funded by the government through the Youth Enterprise Fund.

He called on citizens to fully embrace the culture of savings through SACCOs and to work together on the basis of International Cooperative Principles and Values as well as their own objectives and goals.

He said that despite some cooperatives having been faced with various challenges, remarkable improvement has been made and notable progress continues to be realized.

Stanley Muchiri, the Cooperative Alliance of Kenya Chairman said that the Cooperative Movement has played an important role in wealth creation, food security and employment generation, and mobilized over 30% of National savings and controls over 45% of the GDP.

"It is estimated that over 60% of Kenya's population participates directly or indirectly in cooperative-based activities and the Ministry estimates that around 80% of Kenya's population derive their income through cooperatives," said Muchiri.

Like most developing countries faced with a number of challenges such as high poverty levels in rural and urban areas, Muchiri said that the Cooperative model is a viable solution to the issue because it facilitates access to finance, increased agricultural productivity, access to markets and improved bargaining power of cooperators.

Muchiri added that the International Cooperative Alliance provides a roadmap for the sector under an ambitious plan in the Cooperative Blueprint - the '2020 Vision' - aiming at making the Cooperative sector the fastest growing form of enterprise, the model preferred by people and the acknowledged leader in economic, social and environmental sustainability.

"The topmost ranking of Kenya's Cooperative Movement in Africa places the sector as a major wheel of the socioeconomic pillar of Vision 2030 and much is put in place to engage youths in the leadership through the on-going campaigns for their participation and establishment of Ethics and Governance Commission," said Muchiri.

Muchiri further said the Cooperative Alliance of Kenya in collaboration with like-minded Development Partners and members' support would enhance capacity-building for cooperatives by strengthening the organizational, management and financial skills.

He said this would be fostered by identifying ways and means of promoting further growth of the agricultural Cooperatives through adoption of sustainable production techniques, investments in rural infrastructure and irrigation, strengthened marketing mechanisms and support for youth and women participation in economic activities across the board.

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