The Governments of Kenya and Botswana have said they will focus on incorporating the youth to the cooperatives to ensure the sustainability and growth of the movements.
The Minister for Cooperative Development and Marketing, Joseph Nyagah said the Ministry will see the training of about half a million students from local Universities to ensure cooperatives contributes positively to sustainable economy and curb food insecurity in the country. He added that the youth have a platform and ability to fight poverty through the cooperative movements.
“Half a million students will be trained on cooperative movement. The youth have a platform of forming such movements through social sites, business schools and even youth groups where they can start such movements,” said Nyagah, during a courtesy call by the Minister for trade and industries in Botswana.
Noting that many youth and women groups relying on donors for funding are unsustainable and are at the verge of collapsing at the advent of pulling out of the donors, he said the government has been on the run in ensuring such groups are converted into cooperatives to enhance their life span.
“Many youth and women groups are at risk of collapsing due reliance on donors, this is experienced when the donor pulls out of the group, however we are turning the groups into cooperatives to ensure their sustainability,” said Nyagah.
The move, he said has also aided in the control of cartels who have greatly affected the operations of cooperatives leading to poor incomes for farmers.
“Two years ago farmers realized low incomes, now the ministry controls 15 percent of Kenya’s ownership. This has greatly assisted in the control of cartels making farmers experience high earnings,” he said .
On her part Botswana’s Minister for trade and industries, Dorcas Makgatu-Malesu cited lack of youths in the governance structure of cooperatives as the major hindrance towards their growth in her country.
She said the youths view cooperatives to belonging to the aged making the posts in the movement unattractive thereby reducing competition to boost their growth.
“Youths view cooperative as boring and making no sense, this has led to poor funding from donors. This lowers competition between the existing cooperatives leading to the collapse of movements,” said Malesu.
She said through the courtesy call she will be able to learn on ways of incorporating the youth to the cooperatives in a bid to re-energise the economy. At the same time she also urged the governments of the two nations to create synergies that will ensure private sectors work independently to enhance the fight against food insecurity.
“My concern is seeing the cooperatives averting the challenge of food shortage and alleviating poverty,” she said.
Nyagah also expressed hope of growth in cooperatives due the formation of counties, saying it will see cooperatives from various counties managed by qualified personnel with a touch of the county’s needs.
The cooperatives will also be required to join an apex alliance to form the cooperative alliance of Kenya to boost the development of the movements.