NCBA CLUSA holds first-ever cooperative value chain workshop in Kenya

Kenya Meat Commission 500 c5896Kenya Meat Commission 500 c5896[Value Chain Workshop participants visit the Kenyan Meat Commission.]Bringing together cooperative board members, managers and leaders from five countries in East Africa, the NCBA CLUSA office in Kenya and the African Association of Cooperative Savings and Credit Associations (ACCOSCA) recently held the first-ever value chain workshop that provided the opportunity to discuss best practices in sustainable agri-business.

Over 25 participants from Kenya, Botswana, Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe shared case studies and best practices for financing agricultural production using the cooperative model and how to strengthen these institutions in Africa. Many participants came from agriculture cooperatives as well as savings and credit associations (SACCOs), which are the African version credit unions, helping to understand the risks both in financing and the challenges in the fields.

The collaboration continued through sessions on increasing quality and quantity standards for agri-business including a field trip to a meat processing plant run by the Kenyan Meat Commission. For the Botswana participants, this was particularly helpful; meat is the second largest export to the European market after diamonds in Botswana.

Kenya Truck in Mud 500 61c37Kenya Truck in Mud 500 61c37[An example of the challenges of transportation along the value chain, used as an example during the Cereal Grower’s Association of Kenya presentation. This truck is transporting maize from Transmara to Narok County in Kenya.]In addition to country-specific case studies, the Kenyan Meat Commission field trip exemplified practical challenges and the tour allowed workshop attendees to ask questions at the plant itself. The plant buys livestock for processing before sale to markets as an example of post-agriculture but pre-retail processing—a difficult step in agriculture value chains that takes a lot of investment.

Presentations by ACCOSCA, as well as speakers from large agriculture cooperatives in Kenya, spurred discussion on how cooperatives could be key in bolstering national economies. Speakers included agriculture economist Leah Saoke from Kwale International Sugar Company, George Ombado of ACCOSCA and Anthony Kioko, CEO of the Kenyan Cereal Growers Association (CGA) spanning sectors and points of entry along the product value chain.

The major challenges identified across the countries during the workshop were issues of economic infrastructure, such as lack of warehousing or silos and transportation. All participants agreed these had resulted in large losses in agri-business. Understanding how a cooperative model could uniquely address these challenges, attendees discussed how farmers could invest in local silos to avoid spoilage.

As a follow up, discussions are being held for a second workshop in one of the participating countries to progressively get into more detail at each stage of the value chain.


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