Inuka Youth group started in 2017 as a merry-go -round, with a primary goal of improve its members’ welfare. In 2018 it changed its operation to saving and loan account and was registered as a self-help group in Njoro Sub- County, Nakuru County. The group is currently a member of Njoro Farmers Community Based Organization (NFCBO) which is now known as Njoro Cereal Promoters Farmers’ Cooperative, that seeks to offer lasting solutions to challenges that cereal farmers face from inaccessibility to farm inputs, poor markets access and lack of information on best practices in agriculture. The group runs two enterprises (an Agrovet and Cereals Value addition shops) both located in Egerton, Njoro.
When Covid-19 hit in March 2020, the enterprise Inuka Agri solution was really affected. Sales went down as well as the number of walk-in customers because of Covid-19. This escalated from the shutdown rule, the curfew and people being laid off at work. Many smallholder farmers were affected to as they were also laid off from their jobs and the people they depended on got laid off thus reducing their purchase power. Low sales translated to the group’s enterprise straining to meet expenses such as restocking, rent, electricity and salaries. By the end of year 2020, the group had accrued 6 months in arrears of rent and salaries. To stay afloat, the group laid off two employees and further the salaries of the remaining employees was reduced to KES 5,000.
Inuka group was a beneficiary of the VIJABIZ Project where the group won equipment grant which consisted of a feed mixer, a direct mill, a huller, a chopper, a moisture meter, a sewing machine and a digital weighing scale. When the call came for USADF Covid relief grant came in last quarter of 2020, Inuka Njoro group applied and won KES 750, 000 grant. The first installment was disbursed in June 2021 and was used to pay rent and salary arrears and restock.
The group also reinstated the 2 laid off part time employees and restored the 2 full time employees’ salaries. We managed to buy some additional raw materials for feed formulation. We have diversified our activities to also include maize milling into flour for human consumption due to customer demands.