Cooperative societies can now sigh with relief after an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) desk was commissioned in Kapsabet.
ADR is a way of settling disputes without litigation in that it allows involved parties to identify mutually satisfactory solutions without facing a tribunal.
For a while, the societies in Nandi County have been traveling to Kakamega to have a hearing of their disputes before they are forwarded to the cooperatives tribunal in Nairobi.
Speaking while he commissioned the ADR desk at the Cooperative Offices in Kapsabet, the County Executive Committee member for Agriculture Dr. Kiplimo Lagat said the initiative spearheaded by the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA) will help cooperatives solve their issues amicably.
“As a county government, we will support the initiative for it is cheaper and takes a shorter time to solve disputes than the court process,” he pointed out.
Lagat urged farmers to join cooperatives for it is the way to go, and that they will accrue more benefits being in Cooperatives than individually.
The CEC said that for a long time farmers have been concentrating on the traditional milk, maize, and tea value chains and missing on the emerging value chains.
“Avocado and Coffee value chains have attracted the export market and thus very lucrative areas that farmers can join to be economically empowered,” said Dr. Lagat.
Lydia Omamo, the Country Director NCBA said many cooperatives face leadership, financial, payments, and election wrangles, thus it is important to have an ADR at the grassroots level to benefit societies.
“We have 24, 000 cooperatives in the country, and if they all channel their disputes to the tribunal, it will take much longer to solve each cooperative issue and thus the need for ADR,” she remarked.
The Chief Officer Cooperative Development Dr. Benadatte Tiony said the county has a total of 325 cooperatives under dairy, maize, potatoes, sugarcane, tea, coffee among others.
“NCBA currently supports Nandi Dairy union, Kabiyet dairies, Lelchego, Lesso’s, and Aldai-Moi cooperatives, with time it will reach out to other cooperatives in the County,” she explained.
Abraham Rugut, Chair of Nandi Dairy Union thanked NCBA for the program asserting that it will assist societies to build relationships between warring parties and bring solutions with parties having a win-win situation, unlike other dispute resolution processes.
According to the Cooperatives Societies Act Cap 490, in case of a dispute, the management committee brings the issue to members in a general meeting, and if a solution is not reached at, the issues are referred to the Cooperative Tribunal for determination.