AMURU – After the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) and Uganda People’s Defense Forces’ (UPDF) insurgency, the biting poverty at the time forced those who had returned from the Internally Displaced Camps (IDPs) to join hands and form Lamogi Cooperative Society Limited (LCSL) where they have been able to learn modern farming methods as well as other skills.
The two decades war in the region displaced more that 1.5 million people into IDPs; tens of thousands lost their lives, and properties were destroyed.
However, upon joining the farmers society, they have learnt better savings skills and modern farming methods according to Okeny Justine, the chairperson of the cooperative.
Since the population was returning to ruined homes, the only solution was to come together in a cooperative so that we can help ourselves, noted Okeny.
“We could not help each other at that time, but we sat and the only solution was to form a group that later saw us having a cooperative in place; and to date we are able to sort out our problems,” he said.
The cooperative has 100 groups, with each group having 30 members.
To date in many homes, people are able to have basics in life ranging from daily meals, medical care, and school fees since most of them have leant better farming methods.
Nyakabale Joyce, one of the beneficiaries says she is able to produce what she takes at the cooperative and also have surplus for domestic consumption.
“Modern farming has been key, many stakeholders reached out to us, taught us how to grow both commercial crops and food crops so that as we look at selling what we produce, our families are also catered for in terms of food production,” said Nyakabale
Olanya Patrick, a member of the cooperative, has been able to acquire better farming practices and also to engage in farming as a business.
“Our eyes have been opened, we have been able to tap grants that have helped us to open land on large scale thus helping in large crop production,” he said.
We have come together and put in place a revolving fund which enables members to save their money and borrow whenever in need at a low interest rate.
Komakech Simon Peter, the Amuru District Agricultural Officer (DAO), said since the members are under an organized group, accessing them has been easy and they have been availed with agriculture inputs that has boosted their production.
Market accessibility has also been an added advantage, they can sell in bulk, get storage facilities and markets have been eased as well.
“I must tell you that dealing with a cooperative is easier than working as an individual, there are government projects that target majorly organized groups in terms of grants and they have been able to benefit,” he said.
In the areas of saving, they have received training from microfinance intuitions, together with district commercial officers.
They have taken them through financial literacy hence boosting their saving culture.
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