Factors Influencing Dairy Cooperative Societies Performance In Mathira And Kieni Constituencies, Nyeri County, Kenya
Dairy cooperative societies are very central to sustainable development as they are mainly intended to empower the communities especially in rural areas where agriculture is the main stay. According to United Nations estimates, the cooperative movement has brought 800 million people together globally. Dairy farmers have relied more heavily upon dairy cooperative societies to market their milk than have farmers of any other commodity. However, these cooperative societies are faced with various challenges especially after liberation and most cooperative societies in Nyeri County are under performing as compared to other cooperative societies in similar regions. The factors that could influence poor performance of cooperative societies in the liberation era include: lack of training and unpreparedness by cooperative societies to modernize and embrace change, poor marketing strategies and competition from other players, lack of essential services and poor management and leadership since majority of cooperative leaders are either illiterate or with low education levels, exposure and trainings. In addition, mismanagement and corruption influence performance of dairy cooperative societies in Nyeri County. This study therefore sought to determine the factors that influence the performance of dairy cooperative societies in Mathira and Kieni constituencies. The objectives of the study were to assess how management of dairy cooperative societies, stakeholders in milk marketing, training of staff running these cooperative societies and types of services provided by the cooperative societies influenced performance of the dairy cooperative societies. A descriptive survey design was used in the study and data was collected using questionnaires and structured interview schedules. This study targeted a sample size of 204 dairy farmers in Mathira and Kieni constituencies, 4 government officers and 4 staff running the dairy cooperative societies. After editing and coding the data, Statistical Package for Social Sciences was used in the data analysis and findings were presented using tables and percentages. Results showed that 69.0% of the dairy farmers sold their milk to cooperative societies and milk brokers are the biggest competitors(49.2%) followed by the milk vendors (35.7%). Majority (75.5%) of the respondents said that players in milk marketing affect the performance of cooperative societies. On investigating how training of the staff running the dairy cooperative societies influence performance, 50.5% of dairy farmers and all of the government officers and cooperative managers agreed that indeed the training influenced the performance of cooperative societies. On types of services provided by the dairy cooperative societies and how they influence the performance, the results showed that provision of credit facilities according to all the respondents was ranked highest followed by Artificial Insemination and only 2% of the government officials and cooperative managers indicated that extension services are offered. 64.0% of the dairy farmers and 87.5% of the government officers and cooperative managers agreed that indeed the services offered by cooperative societies influence its performance. The findings of the study will benefit the government, dairy cooperative societies, farmers as well as other stakeholders. The study recommends that cooperative societies should be aggressive in marketing, do value addition to create a niche market and be competitive as well as go out of their way to provide the support services.