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Plan to start a sacco for miraa farmers good idea that’s long overdue

Monday June 01 2020

Savings and credit cooperative societies (sacco) have helped many Kenyans in the formal and informal sectors to progress.
They extend credit facilities to members at interest rates that are friendlier than those of the mainstream financial institutions, and process the loans faster.
In addition, saccos have helped to create a culture of saving among Kenyans. Savings are important since they help a member to take out a loan and also have money to spend when they withdraw their membership, especially upon retirement.
I cannot hide my joy after Agriculture CS Peter Munya recently announced that the government will give seed capital to miraa farmers to start a sacco.
We, miraa farmers, have suffered heavy losses since the time we lost the European market and the Covid-19 pandemic has made the situation worse. We can’t access the few remaining foreign markets after airlines grounded flights until when the coronavirus is put under control.

This would be the first direct assistance from the national government to miraa farmers.

Many farmers lease their miraa plantations to rich brokers, often at a throwaway price, especially to cater for emergencies such as illness in the family or school fees for their children.

But that will soon be a thing of the past as the farmers will be able to access soft loans from the sacco that they can repay after selling miraa.

Miraa farmers should ignore the naysayers and join the sacco since it’s for our benefit.
Elijah Kimathi, Meru

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