Under the agreement, signed by the Cooperative Minister Joseph Nyaga, Kenya will provide technical expertise in the development of cooperatives through the Nairobi-based Cooperative College.
The pact is also meant to spearhead Kenya’s technical cooperation with FAO to enhance agricultural based cooperative in Kenya.
Signing the agreement, FAO’s chief announced the establishment of a cooperative unit within the FAO headquarters. The two officials discussed further cooperation in training and capacity building through the Cooperative College of Kenya.
During this meeting Nyaga put a very strong case for employment of Kenyans in the new unit of cooperative in FAO.
Earlier, the minister addressed an international gathering of world leaders as a special guest where he discussed the revival of the cooperatives movement in Kenya during the just-ended FAO Committee on Commodity Problems.
The minister added: “Kenya’s cooperative movement is the largest in Africa and seventh largest in the World. The movement in Kenya currently contributes 40percent of the GDP, over 30percent of national saving and has a membership of 10 million spreading over 12,000 cooperative societies.”
The special gathering on cooperatives was one of the key activities taking place around the world in marking 2012, the United Nation International Year of Cooperative, in which the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development, particularly their impact on poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration will continue to be highlighted.
The Minister called for the rejuvenation and reinvigoration of the cooperative movement globally and especially in Africa where smallholder farmers and youths need to be organized in order to take advantage of the various aspects of economies of scale and marketing opportunities.
To this end the minister acknowledged the support of the US Government in providing Sh1 billion in support of youth activities in Kenya, and the Government of Israel for training and capacity building in new irrigation technologies.