By Bob Aston
The Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society is in the process of receiving village aggregation Centre certification from the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC). The certification is part of the support provided by EAGC towards ensuring that the cooperative succeeds as a Grain Business Hub (GBH) which is being supported by SNV- Netherlands Development Organization.
A GBH is a business characterized by amalgamation of supportive businesses/services linked to grain business that enables an organization to trade in grains efficiently, effectively and sustainably; and ensures grain suppliers (farmers) access goods and services through check-off system.
It functions as a collective of supportive businesses and services that help the production activities of member farmers. It does this through managing the collection, distribution, and marketing of food products, mainly grains, from farmers and, also, other non-members.
Speaking while touring the cooperative store on May 4, 2015, Mr. Fred Simon Otieno, Program Officer, EAGC Structured Trading Systems noted that the GBH has brought together different partners in the grain value chain.
|Maize being sun dried|
He said that they are currently on a profiling and ranking exercise to help determine the marketing potential of the cooperative and identify gaps that can be supported by the different development partners engaged with the cooperative. He said that EAGC will train the cooperative on Warehouse Receipting System (WRS), post-harvest handling and value addition of grains.
The certified village aggregation Centre will work under the GBH. It will enable the cooperative to buy cereals in bulk from members and then distribute and sell them to schools and other structured markets.
“As a certified village aggregation Centre the cooperative will be able to store grains to a standard required by most structured markets,” said Mr. Otieno.
The Procurement Governance for Home Grown School Feeding (PG-HGSF) which SNV has been implementing has been developing and expanding the GBH model, an initiative that further strengthens the linkages and capacities smallholder farmers have to school feeding.
“EAGC has been supporting grain aggregation, information sharing and market linkages. We will support the cooperative as a grain business hub as we have seen that you have a huge potential,” said Mr. Otieno.
He urged the cooperative to safeguard their assets through insurance and also to ensure that basic post-harvest handling equipment’s are procured.
EAGC is a membership organization of the grain stakeholders in Eastern Africa. The stakeholders represent the three main sectors of the grain value chain including traders, farmers and processors.
The Laikipia Produce and Marketing cooperative society emerged from the work undertaken by Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) through Ng’arua Maarifa Centre with the support of the Ford Foundation’s Expanding Livelihoods for Poor Households Initiative (ELOPHI). It is a vehicle for bulking, marketing and trading in farm commodities and other products and services.