Leadership disconnect with the co-operative movement hurt the sector growth

Co-operative Movement in Siaya County is headed on the wrong direction courtesy of alleged poor leadership which does not seem bothered to improve performance in the key sector.

Bondo Sub-County director of Co-operatives Aineah Ayamba called on the County government leadership to consider quick and complete turnaround strategies to revamp the co-operative sector lest it perishes.

There is blatant lack of visionary leadership to steer the co-operative movement and ensure it exploits its potential. Our co-operative societies are perishing over lack of essential incentives and support mechanisms to hinge the emerging Saccos which are largely community based entities struggling on their own, he revealed.

Ayamba regretted that unlike in the past when the government invested sufficient resources for capacity building including trainings to the societies, the advent of the County governments had seen erosion of a lot of gains in the co-operative sector since it failed to improve the sector.

Our farming and agri-business co-operative societies do not even have extension officers to offer the necessary educational support and other meaningful assistance from the government. There needs to be incentives for marketing and value addition provided by the county government but that is not happening any time soon thereby subjecting our societies to sufferings, regretted Ayamba.

Speaking to KNA in his office in Bondo town, Ayamba who also doubles as the chairman of Ugunja Constituency Uwezo Fund noted that members of various societies did not patronize their Saccos because of lack of motivation from leaders.

He pointed out that the saving culture was still poor and most Saccos suffer liquidity problem.

Siaya County has many community based Saccos who don’t exploit the advantages of the banking facilities because all the major banks are concentrated in the big towns of Bondo, Siaya and Ugunja.

Most of them still prefer saving their monies with their leaders which often end up bringing issues of mismanagement, he disclosed.

He also appealed to the leadership to consider identifying a specific cash crop and direct all the efforts and investments as happens in other regions that do well in the co-operative movement.

Kisii region, Rift Valley and Central parts of Kenya have distinct products in coffee and have formed strong co-operatives that are well capacitated to benefit members and the regions. Siaya too, has a potential in cotton farming and can put up strategies to improve on the same and create jobs and market, said the director.

However, Bondo sub-County has registered immense improvement in the co-operative sector and has a lot of strong societies doing immense economic undertakings and positively impacting on members’ livelihoods.

In Bondo we embrace the concept of clustering as we establish sessions where members contribute in a pool and money taken to the bank, the concept has worked effectively because we have linked them with the banks and service providers and all of the societies have pay bill numbers to send their monies to their banks, he stated.

He particularly commended the various Ward representatives in the constituency for establishing Saccos and supporting the societies and ensuring allocating a good budget towards improvement of the various societies in their wards.

In West Yimbo Ward, the area MCA has supported the fishing co-operative by providing incentives including value addition that has seen them register tremendous gains, East Yimbo Ward has a strong bodaboda society including South Sakwa and West Asembo and to this end I appreciate the various members of county Assembly, Ayamba said.

Source: Kenya News Agency