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Kole cooperative in dire need of modern mill for value addition

KOLE – Alito Joint Farmers’ Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited in Kole district badly needs a new oil grinding mill after the old one they were using broke down.

According to John Christopher Okwang, the old grinding machine donated by the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation [FAO] in 2007 is currently not operational due to persistent mechanic failures.

Okwanga said initially the mill would press 3,000 kilos of oil seeds per day but this had come down to between 300 and 1,500 kilos per day before it finally broke down.

Okwang said the cooperative needs a new mill to withstand the existing competition. “We need the new machine to continue processing animal, and chicken feeds since we are growing oil seeds. We have the physical structure but the machine is not operational,” Okwang said.

According to Isaac Okello, the project officer in the cooperative, they used to process Virgin Cooking Oil which was highly demanded by both their farmers and other consumers in Kole district, and other districts in Lango Sub-region.

“The machine was operational and we had a lot of demand for the cooking oil we were producing, we really had a very good market, and our primary clients were the farmers. They would bring their produce and it would be pressed into oil and then they would go back with the oil. We started having challenges with the machine when the filter broke down and getting its spare parts became very expensive since we were procuring them from the US,” Okello said.

He said this time they need a mill that uses electricity as the first one was using diesel, which he said was costly.

Nicholas Opio, a member of Alito Joint Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited said if they get the new, they will be able to buy soybeans from other producers who don’t belong to the cooperative.

During the recent monitoring and fact-checking visit to the cooperative by officials from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fishery [MAAIF] and National Oil Seed Project [NOSP], Pontian Muhwezi, IFAD’ Country Programme Officer advised leaders to get a modern mill that can run throughout the year.

Alito Joint Farmers’ Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited was formed in 1989 with only five members but now the membership has risen to over 16,000 across Lango Sub-region. The cooperative major grows sunflower, soybeans, maize, and simsim which they bulk to get better prices.

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