The Masaka Farmers’ Cooperative Union is undertaking comprehensive restructuring aimed at resuscitating its coffee export potential.
Registered in 1951, the union was established to strengthen coffee farming and marketing in the greater Masaka sub region. In the 1980s it suffered immense losses as result of the political unrest that befell the country, losses for which the union is currently awaiting full compensation from the government.
TheCooperator has established that in the first two quarters on this financial year, government disbursed Shs 6.3 bn to Masaka Cooperative Union as part payment of the Shs 17.4 bn owed it.
The cash injection comes as a boon for the Union which is working towards reviving its glory in the coffee export business.
Emmanuel Ssenyonga, the Union’s General Manager says their aim is to resume and sustain the union’s coffee export business before this year ends.
The compensation monies received so far are being utilized to reestablish the Union’s strength and explore their business plans, according to Ssenyonga.
“We had earlier undertaken efforts to revive the unions by remobilizing our primary societies to boost their production capacities. When the government finally released part of the money, it came as complement to the efforts and plans we had started rolling out,” he noted.
In the meantime, the Union has stocked at least 13 tons of processed coffee which, Ssenyonga says, is lays a strong foundation for their coffee exports.
To this end, he adds, the Union has already ordered for modern coffee processing and grading machinery from Germany, to be installed in the union’s new factory structure currently under construction at Kijjabwemi zone at the outskirts of Masaka Municipality.
Lawrence Majwala, the Union’s Secretary says that the hi-tech machinery they acquired will facilitate production of high quality coffee and enable them meet international standards.
“We have so far paid 70 percent of the 1.4 billion shillings for the batch of the machinery which is already being shipped. In addition to this, there is another section of the dryer and a colour-sorter that will also be brought in to have a complete factory here,” Majwala said.
Before its disintegration in the mid 1980s, Masaka Coffee Cooperative Union was among the country’s main coffee exporters, generating substantial incomes that contributed to the union’s expansion and asset growth.