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Bunyoro sugarcane farmers urged to subscribe to local coop union

MASINDI, April, 20, 2024 – Sugarcane farmers in Masindi district have been urged to join Bunyoro Sugarcane Cooperative Union Limited [BSCUL] if they are to reap big from their enterprise.

The call was made by Masindi district LCV Chairman, Cosmas Byaruhanga who addressing delegates attending the Union’s second annual general meeting [AGM] last Thursday Thursday at Education Hall in Masindi town.

Byaruhanga implored sugarcane farmers in Bunyoro Subregion region to form more primary cooperative societies to work with BSCUL which is ready to market farmers’ cane.

“The crop grown in every village in Masindi is sugarcane. Our economy is entirely dwelling on sugarcane growing. Let’s embrace cooperatives and subscribe to the union. Members should also be encouraged to buy shares because having a cooperative without money is also nothing,” Byaruhanga said.

He also underscored the need for the Union leadership to sensitise and mobilise members to appreciate the importance of working together as a team.

“People still want to want to work as individuals but that syndrome should stop. People who work as a team achieve results easily and faster,” he said.

Byaruhanga further challenged the sugarcane farmers to diversify and grow other crops like coffee, fruits, beans and maize among others, saying this would help them to widen their income base.

On the other hand, Muhamudu Kazimbaraine, the Union’s chairperson said the union started in 2021 with five cooperatives including Kyema Sugarcane Farmers’ Cooperative Society, Kyabaswa Sugarcane Farmers’ Cooperative Society, Eziragaine Sugarcane Cooperative Society, Masindi Sugarcane Growers and Processors Cooperative Society Limited and Masindi Sugarcane Farmers’ Cooperative Society.

“Apparently we are boasting of 13 primary cooperatives. We are hoping to become a very strong cooperative union. Our aim is to transform this region. For instance, Brasil is one of the countries which has moved out of poverty through sugarcane growing. Our target now is to unite such that we are able to have access to different equipment we shall be using in the field.

He further called for transparency, accountability and trust if the sugar cooperatives and BSCUL are to succeed.

Some of the activities being undertaken by the Union include; buying sugarcane from farmers, weighing sugarcane for farmers, mobilising for the formation of more cooperatives among others.

Kazimbaraine added that they intend to open another weigh bridge in Rukondwa village in Bikonzi Subcounty. The weigh bridges are used to measure farmers’ harvested sugarcane before being delivered to the sugar factories.

“In the past farmers, wouldn’t get access to the weigh bridges but now they can. This has helped farmers to always know their tonnage before selling to sugar miller’s. We also intend to start giving agro- inputs and seed cane to our members.

Meanwhile, Cleophas Bigirwa, BSCUL’s treasurer said they intend to use Shs 196 million in this year, adding that they’re going to undertake different activities including registration of different farmers, opening a new weigh bridge, surveying of farmers field, transportation of farmers cane seed, establishing a database and also visiting the new primary cooperatives among other activities.

He however, explained that they’re facing a challenge of meagre resources, saying this slows the implementation of BSCUL’s activities.

On her, Monica Tibemanya, the Masindi municipality commercial officer while speaking at the Union’s AGM, called for continued sensitisation and mobilisation of members if they are to understand the importance of cooperatives.

“I also implore you to ensure that you have both shot term, mid term and long term plans as a cooperative union to help you have a sense of direction,” he said.

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