Leaders of farmers cooperatives in Busia district have appealed to the government to allow them to take lead in operation wealth creation (OWC) programme to help Ugandans fight poverty.
The farmers’ leaders believe that only their organizations can make OWC become a reality so that they can, in turn, help the government to achieve its dream of creating a mid-income status.
They, however, said, that in order for this to be achieved, the government should lobby grants for them or provide agricultural loans with longer repayment period with the low-interest rate so as to enable Ugandans to engage in commercial agriculture.
Albert Wamboka the chairperson Halala farmers’ cooperative in Bulumbi sub-county said, ” Allot of land is lying idle noting that farmer cooperatives can help farmers to open up for both raring and farming.”
Speaking to the Cooperator in an exclusive interview, another cooperator Rogers Ouma whose cooperative started as farmer group but changed to SACCO model said if cooperatives can be availed with tractors and irrigation equipment, they can keep farmers working throughout the year.
He said farmers’ cooperative currently lack the capacity to give farmers long-term loans to start growing drought-resistant crops like sugarcane and yams which can earn them lots of money.
Livingston Mayende said, giving farmers agricultural inputs like the government is under the OWC programme is a wastage of time.
“By referring to the inputs they get as OWC inputs it is an indication that the programme has not been owned by the beneficiaries,” he said adding acquiring agricultural loans through farmer cooperatives can address the farmers problems.
Efforts to get a comment from Eddie Be the public relations officer microfinance support center failed as he could not answer the phone call.