Murang'a saccos' deposits hit Sh6.5 billion, County boss says

Residents of Murang'a town queue at a milk ATM. PHOTO | MARTIN MWAURA | NMG
Residents of Murang'a town queue at a milk ATM. PHOTO | MARTIN MWAURA | NMG 

Farmers and traders' cooperatives in Murang’a County have grown their deposits by over 60 per cent in the last four years.

Speaking at a meeting attended by cooperative leaders yesterday, Governor Mwangi Wa Iria said the deposits have risen from Sh4 billion in 2013 to Sh6.5 billion this year.

“What they generate annually is actually bigger than what the county receives from the national government," he noted while attributing the growth to an increase in the number of saccos in the area that comprise at least 520,000 members.

“We want to strengthen the cooperatives forum so that it can deal with all cooperative matters. As the number of cooperatives increase it will be increasingly difficult for the county to deal with them,” he said.

Mr Wa Iria, who is also the Cooperatives and Enterprise Development chair in the Council of Governors, said the county currently has 427 saccos.

Responding to concerns that his flagship project, the controversial shilingi kwa shilingi savings scheme, had failed, the county boss said it was still active.

This is despite a gazette notice published last year declaring its dissolution.

"The spirit of cooperatives has very many enemies and especially the bigger it becomes the more enemies it attracts,” he said of its woes.

Milk plant

Murang'a is currently in the process of establishing a milk processing plant aimed at assisting dairy farmers with value addition.

Owned by the Murang’a County Creameries, which collects at least 132,000 litres of milk daily, the capacity of the plant is projected at 400,000 litres of milk in a day.

Mr Wa Iria says the plant will begin producing packed milk for commercial purposes.

The county announced that the establishment of a plant will raise earnings of dairy farmers from the current Sh35.

“I do not want to promise unrealistic prices because you will hold me accountable...But once we sit down and make the calculation, we will announce new prices,” he said.