KWANIA –Frustrated by how little farm produce they can stash away, a 450-member group of farmers allied with Abapiri Oil Seed Cooperative Society, in Abapiri Village, in Chawente Sub County, Kwania District is lobbying the government, well-wishers and donors for Shs 400 million to construct a warehouse.
The cooperative, which deals in soya beans, maize, simsim and other cereal crops plans to construct a store to bulk members’ farm produce for sale.
Stephen Otim, the chairman of the cooperative, said they have already procured land to build the warehouse but are still lobbying the government, well-wishers and donors for funds.
“We are grappling with the challenge of proper storage, however, the cooperative has a plan of constructing a big store estimated to cost Shs 400 million, we already have land but we are seeking support from the government,” he said.
He said the government should rehabilitate roads and provide irrigation systems to boost farmers’ production. Thomas Olal, a member of Abapiri Oil Seed Cooperative, is optimistic that construction of the warehouse will allow them to bulk their produce and sell at affordable prices to help members climb out of poverty.
Hellen Ayao urged the government to invest in different cooperatives in the country. She rallied people to join groups in order to benefit from the government programs.
“We lack a warehouse, I call upon the government to support us, we want to bulk our produce and sell at affordable prices as you know bulking is power. This will help us get a lot of money to eradicate poverty at the grassroots. I want to encourage people to join the group so that we benefit from the government program,” she said.
Patrick Bura, the Kwania District Commercial Officer, said in a telephone interview that; “Cooperatives have a potentially strong role in reducing poverty and social exclusion, and promoting national development. The government is yet to plan on how to support such cooperatives, but as of now they can write a proposal to the Africa Development Bank for financial support, yes as of now.”
Abapiri Oil Seed Cooperative Society started in 2017 as a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) – largely to promote commercial agriculture and strengthen group marketing for increased household income. The Cooperative currently has a total of 451 members with 150 loan portfolios. However, it is operating without a proper storage facility.
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