The evolution of co-operative societies in Nyandarua County, Kenya: the case of Karagoini marketing co-operative society in Ndaragwa sub-county, c. 1965 – 2000
Githinji, Catherine Wairimu
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The study examined the evolution of co-operative societies in Nyandarua County between 1965 to 2000 with particular emphasis on Karagoini Marketing Co-operative Society in Ndaragwa Sub-county. The primary objective of this research was to study the nature and characteristics of the co-operative societies in Nyandarua County from the early independence period. A number of co-operative societies were formed in the Sub-county from 1965. The societies formed included Ndaragwa (1965), Kanyagia (1966) and Karagoini (1967) co-operatives societies among others. The first African settlers were settled in Nyandarua County in 1963. This land was formerly held as large Europeans’ owned farms. Since 1963 the land has been gradually turned over to African farmers on small holdings. Karagoini members acquired individual plots in 1967 after paying the expected fee as a requirement for voting. The farmers were encouraged to form co-operative societies after acquiring land. Members produced common commodities, such as pyrethrum, milk, maize and wheat which they sold through the societies. Membership in Karagoini Co-operative Society was compulsory as one acquired land. This was advantageous to control sales and avoid exploitation by private traders. The study employed purposeful sampling in order to capture samples of informed respondents. A total of 40 informants between the age of 45 to 80 years were interviewed between 2008 to 2014. These included members of the society, management teams and co-operative officers in the county. They provided very important qualitative data as they were associated with Karagoini Co-operative Society in different periods from 1967. Some members from other societies within the Sub-county also provided important information which added value to the study. The study employed four types of data, namely archival data, oral and written interviews and library research. Question guides were provided to the informants. The interviews proved very useful in gathering specific information. They were able to provide answers to the reasons behind the formation of Karagoini Co-operative Society, the benefits acquired and challenges faced. The oral informants who were illiterate would be assisted to fill the question guide. The sources were compared in order to produce complete results. The study adopted an integrated theoretical approach comprising the dependency and underdevelopment approach, modernization and articulation of modes of production. The study found out that the government promoted the co-operative societies in Nyandarua County after independence. This was mainly done through education and training. The findings of the study is hoped, will lay a better foundation for future research on co-operative societies in the County.