Saccos eye State land for plantation agriculture
By LYNET IGADWAH
Co-operative societies plan to lease part of the 500,000 acres of land that the government is seeking to give out to potential investors under a public-private partnership for large-scale agriculture.
The Cooperative Alliance of Kenya sees this as a means of increasing yields as different associations come together to grow various crops. It will also enable them to enjoy economies of scale when selling the produce.
This follows an announcement by the Ministry of Agriculture on mapping out land belonging to the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation, Kenya National Youth Service, Kenya Prisons and Agriculture Development Corporation for crop cover.
“We want to bring our members together in farming so that instead of them growing crops in small pieces of land, we lease a huge chunk so that we can enjoy economies of scale,” said the Alliance chairman Macloud Malonza on Friday ahead of the July 1 Ushirika Day.
He said the process of amalgamating key farmer saccos is at an advanced stage. “We have started to amalgamate small holders cooperative to raise more resources for the project,” he added.
The smallholder cooperatives are coming together to reduce the involvement of middlemen in a bid to enable farmers to negotiate better prices for their produce.