YUMBE – Limited access to tractor hire services in Yumbe district, has led to failure of Aupi Community Cooperative Credit and Savings Society Limited to utilize more than 200 acres of their agricultural land bought by members three years back to practice agriculture.
This land was bought to practice commercial agriculture, as one alternative to generate funds and uplift the cooperative financially.
Members also had hopes that it would be a means to a sustainable agro-business with a focus on bridging the financial gap, but they have failed to utilize it due to limited access to finance.
According to the top managements of Aupi Cooperative, since the demand for agricultural products exponentially increased in Yumbe district with the influx of refugees; the cooperative could not meet the demand unless they hired tractors to increase their productivity.
Ijoga Tohaabukar, the Chairman Board Aupi Cooperative Credit and Saving Society Limited says, the mission of the Aupi cooperative is to provide financial solutions for sustainable agro-business but the cooperative has failed to meet the demand of its members because of their limited financial capacity to procure tractors.
He said since the cooperative only relies on interests from loans charged on members’ borrowing as their only source of income; it is quite hard for the cooperative to think of buying a tractor as a boost to commercial agriculture by members.
He says the current financial position of the cooperative stands at only Shs 65 million, making it hard for the cooperative to spend more than what they have on their accounts.
“Aupi cooperative have committed members who are ready to practice commercial agriculture but due to inaccessibility of tractor hire services by the group members, members have resorted to small scale agriculture for domestic purposes,” Ijoga said.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Uhuru Institute for Social Development, Okello Leonard has advised the management of Aupi Cooperative Credit and Saving Society Limited to apply for tractors through government programs like Operational Wealth Creation (OWC’s), parish model if they want to develop.
“Don’t use colors with development but use the available government programs to bail you out from poverty. For instance, the parish models and OWC which target to amplify the financial boost to eradicate poverty among the organized and focused members in the community,” Okello said.
Amana Small, a single mother and member and of Aupi cooperative says, poor attitude of members towards repayment of loans have affected the progress of the cooperative to afford its own tractor.
Amana adds that, if Aupi procured its own tractor, it would be easier for group members to hire a tractor at a low cost compared to tractors being hired from private individuals whose charges are very high.
She says currently, tractor hire in Yumbe goes for Shs 120, 000/= per acre and it is hard to hire a tractor as its demand has overwhelmed tractor service providers from farmers.
“Uhuru please help us with a tractor such that we practice commercial agriculture for economic transformation,” Amana said.
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