Cooperatives & Communities

Adjumani farmers decry low prices of soybeans, urged to form cooperatives

ADJUMANI -More than 100 farmer groups and individual farmers in Adjumani district are stuck with close to 50 tons of soybeans due to the low prices being offered by the middlemen.

The affected farmers are from Dzaipi, Pakele, Adropi, Itirikwa, and Ukusijoni sub-counties who grew the soybeans as the Development Initiative in Northern Uganda [DINU] launched a pilot project for oilseeds in West Nile Subregion.

Hawadi Drasiga, a farmer in Dzaipi Sub-county who cultivated 46 acres of soybeans said he has in store 70 sacks, saying the low prices being offered may not even cover the cost of production.

“I bought the seeds at Shs 5,000 per kilo and yet middlemen want to buy a kilo at only Shs 2,000. I spent close to Shs 10 million on land opening other expenses,” Drasiga said.

He added that several other buyers have approached him wanting to buy kilo of his soybeans below Shs 2,000.

“We want to start cooperative so that we can have strong bargaining power. Unfortunately, some of the farmers are impatient and cannot wait longer. We call upon government to help us in marketing,” our soybean produce,” Drasiga said.

Another farmer, Michael Amoko, from Pakele Sub-county attested that he is also keeping 21 sacks of Soybeans in his home after being approached by buyers who were only offering Shs 2,000 per kilo.

“I am still keeping the soybean in the store. I am waiting for the price to rise to at least Shs 3,000 per kilo so that I am to recover the cost of production and earn some profit,” Amoko said.

He said the poor prices being offered could lead to low production of soybeans, come next season.  “If I don’t get a good price, my plan for the next season will be affected. Last year, I planted 17 acres of soybean, but with this low price, I am not sure if I will plant the same acreage or more,” Amoko added.

James Logwenya, the agriculture officer of Dzaipi Sub-county said DINU and Development Response to Displacement Impact Project [DRDIP] have boosted the capacity of the farmers to grow soybeans on the large scale.

However, he said farmers are facing the challenge of low prices, which he said is killing the morale of the farmers to grow more of the crop, especially since the cost of production last year was high. “The cost of production was high,” he said.

The official said they are organising the soybean farmers to begin bulking so that they can attract buyers who can offer good prices.

Robert Dramwi, the Sub-county chairperson for Ofua Sub-county said many farmers had picked interest in growing soybeans and that Ofua Sub-county has more than 30 farmer groups.

“Right now, Sub-county Ofua has become a hub of Soybeans. The farmers have been trained on planting, quality seeds, and post-harvest handling. We have more than 10 tons of soybeans but our farmers cannot sell due to low prices,” Dramwi said.

Dramwi appealed to the different farmers to form cooperatives to have strong bargaining power.

“When the farmers are not organised into cooperatives, middlemen tend to take advantage and buy at low prices,” he said.

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