The 58 saccos in Nyandarua County have increased their savings to Sh8.1 billion in the current financial year, from Sh7.8 billion recorded in 2017/2018 financial year.
But despite the growth, poor savings culture has been underlined as the biggest hurdle to expansion of saccos in the county.
Speaking at Ol Kalou Catholic Church during the Tower Sacco Annual General Meeting (AGM), county cooperative chief officer Veronica Njoki said only 175,000 residents are members of the 145 cooperative societies.
“Out of the 145 cooperative societies, 58 of them are Saccos. Tower Sacco has the lion share at 85,000 membership while the others are distributed among other movements,” said Ms Njoki.
“We have a large population of people with a poor culture of saving.”
Another challenge cited is that many of the Saccos are too small and unable to attract qualified managers to run them.
“The type of leadership elected to serve as board members cannot also manage the Saccos,” said Ms Njoki.
The county is banking on new potato regulations to drive the expansion of cooperative movement.
“With the new potato regulations, the devolved unit is supporting growers form own cooperative societies to help in marketing the produce,” Ms Njoki noted.
“With collection centres and construction of a potato processing plant in Ol Kalou town, individual farmers will have to be members of Saccos.,”
To promote the upcoming potato cooperative society, the government is starting cooperatives fund kitty with a seed capital of Sh30 million.
Started as a Nyandarua teachers Sacco in 1970S, the Tower Sacco has expanded its services to other counties including Nairobi, Nakuru, Samburu, Narok and Mombasa counties.
“We now treat the Sacco as an enterprise not a social organisation…the most important thing in Sacco growth is member capacity building through financial management and investment opportunities,” said Mr Gitundu.
The Sacco CEO Gabriel Waweru, said the organisation targets to hit Sh21 billion capital base in the near future.
“We have recorded a steady growth throughout the years since inception but the best growth has been in the last six years. In 2015, we had a total asset base of 3.6 billion and we are now at 10.5 billion total assets base.
The CEO notes that more challenges and risks emerge when Saccos record such trajectory growth, but assures that members that the leadership is prepared and has taken necessary precautions.
“To sustain the growth, we have identified four main pillars which include how to sustain the growth, identification of enablers which include vibrant ICT platform. The next one is marking strategies and also powerful dedicated human resource where we have done a massive restructuring,” said the CEO.