KENYA – In a bid to boost agricultural activities and enhance the economic well-being of Kirinyaga farmers, Governor Anne Waiguru has handed over a cheque totalling Kshs. 42.54 million to 204 farmers’ groups engaged in diverse agricultural value chain projects.

The funds, distributed under the Wezesha Kirinyaga program, aim to facilitate increased production and productivity, fostering food security and poverty reduction in the region.

The financial injection from the Wezesha Kirinyaga program is also set to benefit farmers involved in dairy cattle rearing, avocado farming, tomato farming, chicken rearing, beekeeping, dairy goat rearing, fish farming, pig rearing, and egg hatching, among other ventures.

Meanwhile, Governor Waiguru, in partnership with Wezesha, has also unveiled 20 ward-based multi-value chain farmers’ Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs).

The Saccos, according to the governor, play a pivotal role in unlocking the potential of smallholder farmers.

They are expected to provide members with affordable operational capital, savings and credit services, and valuable information on markets and production practices.

Highlighting the significance of these initiatives, Governor Waiguru emphasized their strategic role in positioning farmers as primary suppliers of raw materials for upcoming processing industries in the Sagana Industrial Park.

“Greater productivity can boost farmers’ income, especially for smallholder farmers, who have limited resources to leverage on growing and marketing their produce. Increasing productivity in agriculture is also critical to reducing poverty,” she stated.

As Chair of the Council of Governors (COG), Waiguru also emphasized the importance of cooperatives as vehicles that enable farmers to pool financial and technical resources, spreading costs and benefiting from collective experiences.

“Each of the 20 wards will have a Sacco comprised of members from the farmers’ groups supported by the county government through the Wezesha Kirinyaga program.”

She outlined several benefits of cooperatives, including increased access to high-quality farming inputs, collective bargaining on behalf of members, and providing transportation and marketing services for produce.

In addition, she envisioned that the Saccos would evolve to offer an e-voucher program for subsidized farm inputs, provide crop and livestock insurance, and aggregate and market farmers’ produce.

Notably, the recent funding represented the second batch of the Third Phase of financial support for these groups.

The county government has previously disbursed a total of Kshs. 380.2 million, with Kshs. 210.7 million allocated to farmers’ groups and Kshs. 169.5 million to farmers’ cooperatives.

 

To fortify the establishment of the cooperatives, Governor Waiguru’s administration has provided support for setting up offices, supplying computers and printers, and assisting with rent and salary payments.

The Saccos have already mobilized 1,666 members and Kshs. 2.9 million in savings, share capital, and registration.