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Lango cocoa farmers urged to form cooperatives

 LIRA, December 18, 2023 - Cocoa farmers in the Lango Sub-region are to form a cooperative to help in bulking and marketing.

Presently, around 145 farmers in Lango are cultivating cocoa, a crop that starts bearing fruits at two years and is harvested twice annually, and experts say, farmers can potentially earn about Shs 13 million per acre of cocoa annually, if well organised.

Cocoa, according to agriculturalists, cocoa is a long-term generational crop and if properly embraced, it can help farmers in Lango to fight abject poverty more than seasonal crops such beans, millet, maize and simsim.

However, Peter Okullo, one of the prominent farmers growing the beverage crop in the region, says there is a need to form a cooperative for easy marketing.

Frederick Ogwal Oyee, a clan chief of Inomo but also a prominent cocoa farmer in Dokolo district, says weather conditions, altitude, temperature soils favour the growing of cocoa in Lango.

In Uganda, cocoa is mainly grown in the districts of Bundibugyo, Mukono, Kayunga, Jinja, Iganga, Mayuge, Buikwe and Masindi, with the local cooperative societies playing a major role in production and marketing.

According to agricultural experts, Uganda produces 44.7 metric tonnes of cocoa which fetched the country revenue of US$ 105.8 million in 2021.

Ogwal who has 10 acres of cocoa at Rego-Rego village, Amwoma Sub-county in Dokolo district said it was wrong to zone Lango for cotton production only, saying that cocoa and coffee do well in northern Uganda.

Okullo notes farmers are venturing into cocoa growing. “As I talk now, I am raising 100,000 seedlings because the demand has become overwhelming,” he says.

He adds that they are planning to form a cooperative and establish five collection centres for the growers in Lango Sub-region.

He adds that they demand for the cocoa beans is overwhelming and at the moment a kilogram is going out at Shs 14,000.

“Our vision toward promoting cocoa growing is to encourage and see every household in Lango, Acholi, Kumam and parts of Teso dedicating at least one acre piece of land to cocoa growing,” Okullo says.

Cocoa beans are used to make chocolate and are a source of many antioxidants.

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