In 2020, the Meguarra cooperative, a member of the Cereal Growers Association (CGA), a national organization of Kenyan cereal farmers supported by Fert, began to implement a new service for its members: the flour transformation unit. This project was initiated following the sharing of experience with a neighboring cooperative.
Since 2016, Fert supports CGA and its members in the implementation of services to farmers in 5 counties in southwest Kenya. Among the elements of approach promoted by Fert is the exchange visit.
85 local and regional FOs
2 179 family farms involved
Bringing together similar experiences
The exchange visit is a peer-to-peer learning tool that allows farmers to share their experiences in the field through direct observation. They can thus learn from the experiences of their neighbors who have encountered and overcame difficulties similar to their own.
This is the case of the Meguarra cooperative in Narok County. Member of CGA, this cooperative has 338 members and 5 employees. It offers its members an agregation and joint marketing for corn and beans, sold mainly to the World Food Program (WFP). However, since 2016, the decrease in corn purchases by the WFP has posed significant challenges to the cooperative, which has difficulty ensuring sufficient income for its members and its functioning. The elected officials wanted to develop a new service that would add value to the members’ products and turned to CGA to assist them in their reflections.
The CGA advisor proposed the meeting with the cooperative in Nzoia, 300 km distant, which offers since 2016 a service of transformation of agricultural products to its members through a unit of transformation of corn into flour. Today, this cooperative has around 1,800 farmer members, sells the flour on the market under three different brands and employs 28 people to run the plant. It is even considering setting up an additional plant to serve its more distant members and to move closer to new markets.
To learn from and create links between cooperatives
At the end of 2019, seven elected members of the Meguarra cooperative went to meet the Nzoia cooperative. This exchange visit was an opportunity to discover the plant and the process of transforming corn into flour, and also to exchange with the elected members and technicians of the Nzoia cooperative on good practices in terms of cooperative management, grain marketing strategy, and resource mobilization for such a project.
Inspired by these exchanges, the elected representatives of the Meguarra cooperative decided on their return to Narok to build a flour transformation unit. A piloting committee was set up to design the project, identify the site and mobilize financial resources. In 2020, the cooperative approved the implementation plan. In 2021, initial contacts will be made with the State services and potential financiers who can support the launch of the project.
Exchange is a very present state of mind within these two cooperatives. Thus, they plan to organize new exchanges in 2021, which should enable them to discuss the different steps in the development of such a project and the principles of governance.