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September 22, 2018

Urithi Sacco woos land buyers with agribusiness loan guarantees

MY STRATEGY: Urithi Housing Society chairman Samuel Maina.
MY STRATEGY: Urithi Housing Society chairman Samuel Maina.

URITHI Housing Co-operative Society has partnered with microlender Rafiki Microfinance Bank in supporting buyers of its plots, with no immediate building plans, to venture into agribusiness.

 The Sacco chairman Samuel Maina said the plan will help generate income for the growing number of land buyers who do not plan to develop their plots immediately.

 Urithi will outsource agribusiness consultants to help in technical advice on best farming methods and marketing strategies of farm produce.

 “In this programme, members are encouraged to pay a deposit on the farming initiative, then the Sacco will assist them with financial support to do agribusiness, sell their produce and recoup on their investment,” Main said in an interview.

 The Thika-headquartered Sacco believes the project may earn buyers of its vast plots across the country cash that they could spent to put up housing units in future.

 Those who acquire plots to speculate on their prices could also benefit from the scheme, Maina said.

 “We have noticed a trend where after buying the land, the owner takes a while before getting money to start construction, and this is because they are repaying the money which was used to buy the plot,” he said.

 The project is targeting buyers in Embu county before being rolled out in Murang'a, Nakuru and Coast.

 Key focus has been placed on greenhouse farming and livestock keeping ventures such as chicken rearing.

Maina said the Sacco was already getting enquiries on the concept.

 Urithi says it has more than 13,000 members countrywide.

At an earlier engagement, Maina said the Sacco will launch a three-year strategic plan targeting to grow membership to 60,000.

The strategic plan will also focus on increasing its capital from Sh2 billion to Sh20 billion. The Sacco is looking at diversifying its investment further from residential to hospitality properties.

The strategy will involve mobilisation of members contributions and will largely focus on the counties where it has no presence.

The Sacco's runs a countrywide ‘Nyumba Mia’ initiative which is seeking to put up 100 residences in each of the regions where it owns plots.

 Last month, it opened a new office in Mombasa as it looks to develop its 400 acres in Malindi and 40 acres at Mavueni in Kilifi.

 An acre in Malindi sells for Sh210,000 on average, while in Mavueni it costs Sh250,000.

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