The Ministry of Trade, Industrialization, Investment and Cooperative Development paid a visit to their counterparts in Uasin Gishu County in a bid to borrow a leaf on how they handle matters cooperatives. The delegation from West Pokot was led by CEC for Trade, Industrialization, Investment and Cooperatives Development -Augustine Monges while the hosting team was led by CEC Cooperatives and Enterprise Development -Esther Mutai.
The cooperative movement in Uasin Gishu County is very vibrant with a total of 562 registered cooperative societies. Active are 245 which include 54 newly registered and 26 revived. The county has established the Enterprise Development Fund (CEDF) through the ‘Cooperative Development Fund Act of 2016’ with the aim of providing low interest loans to the vibrant cooperative institutions in the County and to promote the welfare and economic uplifting of the people of Uasin Gishu County.
West Pokot County on the other hand had previously tried to institute such a system but due to several unavoidable reasons, it never saw light of day. “The idea, dubbed Biashara Mashinani, was an idea brought about in the previous regime but the current Government is changing it to Cooperatives hence the need to learn from their elder brother Uasin Gishu County who are far much ahead in terms of implementation of the cooperatives.” Noted Monges.
The Cooperative Society in Uasin Gishu County are in 10 categories ranging from Matatu saccos, Boda Boda saccos, Unions, Housing, Investment and so much more. The County Government gives out loans to registered cooperatives depending on their capacities. The minimum loans given is Ksh.500, 000 and the maximum is Ksh.4,000,000 at an interest of 5% per annum. So far, a total of 58 Cooperative societies have been funded by the County and a total of Ksh.128.2 million has been disbursed to cooperative societies. The funding has enabled societies acquire income generating assets through asset financing and some have increased their income base due to increased capacity as a result of the loan e.g. increased milk production.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Isaac Yarapuo, Agg. County Commissioner of Cooperatives West Pokot County, noted that The County has registered 86 cooperatives and this low number can be attributed to the nomadic nature of the residents of West Pokot. “The cooperatives range from marketing, Dairy, coffee, wool and pyrethrum.” He stated. Mr. Yarapuo said that the County boasts of 5 cooperatives in the honey industry and that West Pokot County produces the best honey in the Country. The ministry is supporting the bee keeping farmers by providing them with improved bee hives and each bee hive costs Ksh.4, 500. “We gave our Dairy Cooperatives 7 coolers plus a standby generator. The farmers buy their own land and construct the facility where the cooler will be installed. Our role was just to provide them with the coolers.” Said Mr. Yarapuo.
The County also has established cooperatives for bulb onions and the ministry has given the farmers standardized weighing equipment. The County Government though the ministry is planning to process and package milk locally and a feasibility study has already been done. Hon. Monges added that on Boda Boda Saccos, The Ministry is planning to construct boda boda shades and offices in all the 20 wards. “This will ensure that they are organized and this will ease management of the sector.” He alluded.
On her part, Esther Mutai lauded the efforts being made by the West Pokot County in ensuring that they recover the lost years in development. She pointed out that West Pokot County is well endowed with natural resources. “West Pokot County is a County to Watch!” She exclaimed. Hon. Monges expressed his gratitude for the opportunity accorded to his team and The County at large. “We can now work on our draft basing on what we have learnt today.” He said.
Hon. Monges was accompanied by Mr. Isaac Yarapuo – Agg. County Commissioner of Cooperatives, Ms. Treza Akuto – Planning department and Mr. Leonard Ng’iro – Senior Clerk Assistant in Charge of Legislative Procedure.