LIRA – Itek Okile Rice Growers’ Multipurpose Cooperative Society [IORGMCS] in Itek Sub-county, Lira district has received Shs 912 million from the United States African Development Foundation [USADF] to build the capacity of its members in rice growing.
The chairperson of the cooperative, Alfred Ocen said the project will run for four years, adding they have hired 10 professionals to implement the capacity building programme.
IORGMCS was established in 2001 as a farmer-based organisation owned by 30 rice farmers with the goal to increase farmers’ incomes through rice growing and providing better quality farm inputs and tools.
Since then, the number of registered members of the cooperatives has risen to 1,500 with a total of 1,800 acres of rice fields opened at Olweny rice irrigation scheme.
During the Lord`s Resistance Army [LRA] insurgency in northern Uganda, the rice scheme became bushy prompting a halt in rice production.
But when the war ended the World Bank through ministries of water and environment including agriculture released Shs 52bln to revamp the scheme located 10 kilometers east of Lira City.
Though disputes and misunderstandings erupted early this year over the funds according to the district commercial officer, Santos Olade, it was sorted out and the cooperative is in the right direction.
The scheme is benefitting farmers from four sub-counties which include Barr, Agali, Amac, and Itek.
“They have given us funds after doing a comprehensive assessment on our progress, goals, and targets to eradicate household poverty,” Ocen said.
USADF established by Congress invests directly in African grassroots enterprises and social entrepreneurs to increase incomes, revenues, and jobs by promoting self-reliance and market-based solutions to poverty.
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