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Thursday, 23 July 2015

Samburu cooperators on a benchmarking mission in Laikipia

By Bob Aston
Laikipia West Sub County based Ng’arua Maarifa Centre on July 16, 2015 played host to a team of nine (9) cooperators from Samburu County who were on a benchmarking mission in Laikipia County.
The cooperators were at the Maarifa Centre to learn more about activities carried out by Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) through Ng’arua Maarifa Centre and also to exchange ideas with members of Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society.
The cooperators at Ng'arua Maarifa Centre

Speaking during the visit, Mr. Mike Kumpan, Samburu County Cooperative Development Committee (CCDC) Chairman said that the group drawn from various cooperatives in Samburu County were keen to learn what their neighbours are doing.
He said that cooperatives from Samburu County are keen to adopt best practices from their neighbours to ensure continuous improvement of their products and services. The group identified Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society as an institution that they can learn from.
“We are evaluating various aspects of our cooperatives in relation to best practices. Measuring our performance with other cooperatives will enable us to improve on what we are currently doing,” said Mr. Kumpan.
Mr. Waweru Kanja, Chairman, Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society said that the cooperative is addressing the challenges facing smallholder farmers in procuring farm inputs and marketing of produce.
He said that as a result of engagement with other partners like ALIN, Netherlands Development Organizations (SNVs), Eastern African Grain Council (EAGC), MEA Ltd, Kilimo Biashara Profilers, Kenya Seed Company Ltd, Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, the cooperative has been able to reach out to its members with a variety of services and also has increased its membership, sales and community good will.
Mr. Kumpan addressing the cooperators
“ We intend to become a leading  farmer   based organization,   increasing  the  wealth  ,food and  nutritional  security  of   small holder  farmers  in  Laikipia  County by empowering smallholder farmers with skills to aggregate farm produce and become agribusiness oriented,” said Mr. Kanja.
The benchmarking visit provided members of Laikipia Produce and Marketing Cooperative Society and the Samburu cooperators with an insight on how their organizations compares with others offering similar products and services. 
The leaders were also able to share knowledge on best cooperative practices as well as establishing linkages.
Mr. Noah Lusaka, ALIN Project Manager informed the Samburu County cooperators that the international organization has been partnering with County governments and specifically Laikipia and Kajiado County Governments to implement various projects.
He said that the organization will not hesitate to partner with Samburu County Government when the need arises. He said that the organization is keen on knowledge sharing and the visit came at an opportune time for Laikipia Produce and Marketing Cooperative Society as they will also be able to learn a lot from their counterpart.
Due to its nature of mobilizing communities into economic activities, the cooperative movement has been proven to play an active role in poverty alleviation, employment creation, food security and equitable distribution of natural resources.

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