State mulls maize co-ops plan and more collection centres
The government will help form cooperative societies and aggregation centres for maize farmers to make the sub-sector more competitive and increase income.
State Department for Cooperatives Principal Secretary Patrick Kiburi Kilemi said the focus is to aggregate value chains in order to spur food security.
“The new focus on forming cooperatives in maize is premised on its importance in the national development agenda. It is among the biggest food sub-sectors in the country but has very few cooperative societies,” he said.
Due to lack of strong cooperative societies, farmers have had pricing challenges every year, this even as cartels in the value chain take advantage of the loopholes to offer exploitative prices. The secondary actors, Kilemi notes, have been frustrating efforts to form aggregation centres so that they can continue manipulating and applying unorthodox means to control the market.
“ We have already formed a technical committee to mobilise and help small scale farmers form cooperative societies. In this way farmers will manage to negotiate for better prices and bulk purchase of farm inputs,” said Kilemi.
The government is targeting 17 priority value-chains in the cooperative movement both at the national Government and counties. “We want to aggregate farmers into big cooperatives so that they can negotiate for good prices for their products, get affordable farm inputs and this will enable the country to meet the maize shortfall occasioned every year,” said Kilemi.