Agricultural cooperatives continue to occupy the most important place in the cooperative movement in Kenya.
They are involved in buying, collecting, processing and marketing farm produce. Most farm purchase cooperatives were created immediately after independence to enable their members to buy farms owned by European settlers. Most agricultural cooperatives help members with collection, processing, storage and sale of produce. Cooperative unions play a major role in securing credit, fertilisers, seeds and farm machinery for members. Many of them are involved in the production of crops.
In the past two years, the number of societies and unions rose by 7.3 per cent from 13,256 in 2010 to 14,228 in2011. Overall, 972 additional cooperative societies and unions were registered.
Most agricultural societies registered growth, except cotton and farm purchase societies whose numbers remained unchanged. The number of unions remained stable with two additional unions registered in 2011.
Poor performance in pyrethrum production in the recent past has resulted in minimal cooperative activity in the area, with only one society registered in the review period. Four fisheries-based societies were registered.
Coffee, sugarcane, pyrethrum and dairy products recorded marginal sales increases from shs10,377,000,000 ($122.1 million) in 2010 to Ksh10,433,000,000 ($122.7 million) in 2011. Coffee sales from cooperative societies declined by Kshs33 million ($388,235).