A section of elders in Karamoja region have asked government to consider reviving Karamoja African Wholesale Cooperative Society, a once-powerful Cooperative that was based in Moroto town.
In an interview with theCooperator in Moroto town, Mze John Lokol, a resident of Acholin in Moroto Municipality, said that life was much better for the people of Karamoja in terms of affordability of essential products when Karamoja African Wholesale Cooperative was still operational in the early 1960s.
“Food prices were very low because the Cooperative owned a big lorry that collected food products from as far as Kitale and Teso region, which would then be sold to its members in Karamoja at wholesale prices, unlike now where individuals have to travel several kilometers to buy food,” he said.
The cooperative collapsed soon after President Idi Amin’s ouster.
Jimmy Lomokol the Chairperson of Karamoja Private Sector Promotion Center also believes that revival of the Karamoja African Wholesale Cooperative Society would benefit many in the region, especially farmers.
“When it was operating, the Karamoja African Wholesale Cooperative was a center point for farmers to go and get good quality seedlings and food products at a cheaper price,” he said.
According to Mr. Lomokol, the cooperative offered members credit at low interest rates to invest in farming, businesses and building their houses, a facility that many now look back to with nostalgia.
Unfortunately, he related, the Cooperative was vandalized and all its equipments, machines and vehicles were stolen following former president Idi Amin’s fall from power.
He hopes that government can help to revive the now defunct cooperative by injecting money, including soft loans, to kickstart its operations.