By Bob Aston
The Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society on November 25, 2015 received a maize sheller from the Eastern African Grain Council (EAGC). Representative from Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) witnessed the handover by EAGC at the cooperative store in Sipili town, Ol-Moran Ward.
The EAGC support is towards enhancing the capacity of the cooperative towards managing members and other smallholder farmer’s cereal produce during shelling.
The support is also towards ensuring that the cooperative becomes a village aggregation centre. This will enable the cooperative to buy cereals in bulk from members and then distribute and sell them to schools and other structured markets.
|Maize sheller donated by East African Grain Council|
Speaking during the handover, Mr. Kipyegon Kipkemei from EAGC urged the group to utilize the equipment by doing business with it and ensuring members of the cooperative are the ultimate beneficiaries.
“The maize sheller will be co-owned between the cooperative and EAGC for a period of three years. After that duration, we will decide whether to leave it to the cooperative or give it to another group,” said Mr. Kipyegon.
The maize sheller is worth Kshs. 65,000. It has a capacity of 6.5-horse power and can therefore shell 20-25 bags per hour. The tank can hold 3 litres of petrol. Other beneficiaries included Ndurumo Cereal Bank, Sipili Cereal Bank, Ol-Moran Cereal Bank and Muhotetu Grain Bank.
Shelling is an important post-harvest activity in maize as it reduces post-harvest losses. Use of shelling machine reduces breakage of cereals and deterioration, as it is faster.
Formed in 2013, the cooperative emerged from the work undertaken by ALIN through Ng’arua Maarifa Centre with the support of the Ford Foundation’s Expanding Livelihoods for Poor Households Initiative (ELOPHI).
Its mandate is mainly to aggregate the farming communities by pooling them together and empowering them to take control of their farm’s enterprises, aggregation of farm produce and collective marketing to enhance their bargaining power and profit margins.