By Arnest Tumwesige
Over 400 farmers belonging to eight farmer groups in Koch Lii Sub-County Nwoya district, have transitioned into Cooperative societies.
The groups are Nwoya Goro 2 maize, soy beans and sunflower growers cooperative, Goro 1 maize and soy beans growers cooperative, Goro 3 maize and soy beans growers cooperative, Ceke maize and soy bean growers cooperative.
Others are Ogelo 2 maize and soy beans growers cooperative, Koroba maize and soy beans cooperative, Ogelo 1 maize and soy beans cooperative and Celpeke maize and soy beans cooperative.
Each cooperative society has at least 50 members.
The farmers were handed their certificates of registration on Saturday by Kenneth Kitara the Nwoya district commercial officer.
During the colorful held from Koch Lii sub county headquarters, Kitara who was the chief guest at the function, urged the cooperative societies to push further and form unions in the future.
Kitara highlighted that, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animals and Fisheries (MAAIF) is soon embarking on supplying tractors to sub counties to boost production.
“In this arrangement of acquiring the tractors, government pays 70 per cent, while farmers pay 30%,” Kitara explained.
The noted that forming cooperatives will help them a lot in realizing a lot of benefits that including the use of modern technology, join produce marketing, value addition among others.
Formation facilitated by CAPABLE
The transition from informal small farmer groups was facilitated by CAPABLE international, an NGO that previously worked with the farmers in 2018 to 2022.
George Ekol a member of Ogelo 2 maize and soy beans cooperative production, said it is a great achievement for them to ably network and market their farm produce.
“Before CAPABLE, we were farmers, operating individually and would get very little returns from farming, but I can now speak with authority that we are now empowered,” he said.
Mary Atim a member of Koroba maize and soy beans cooperative, said they are now empowered to invest and earn more money and live better lives.
During the event, the farmers vented out challenges like bad road network, elephant invasion from Murchison Falls National Park, limited use of technology and poor market prices as some issues still affecting farming as a business.
However, Janan Obua a member of Celpeke maize and soy beans growers cooperative, said they are now partnering with other agro input dealers and seed companies to get quality for their farming.
“As we transit into cooperative society, I urge every member to aim farming bigger and that is only possible through partnerships with companies that support our course,” Obua says.
Dominic Idro the Executive Director of CAPABLE International appreciated individuals in the groups for the hard work and commitment that has seen them register as cooperative societies.
“CAPABLE strength is founded on hard work. I am proud that you have reached this milestone,” Idro stated.
Between 2018 and 2020, CAPABLE supported the farmers with training and demonstrations on better agronomic practices, agricultural loan of 1.5% every season.
Similarly, the farmers were also mentored in farming as a business, counseling services that ensured stable homes for sustainable agriculture, sanitation and hygiene promotion, and Adult Literacy.