The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (MTIC), and The Uhuru Institute for Social Development (TUI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance production and productivity in agribusiness, among cooperatives and other citizen collectives.
The use of primitive technologies, subsistence farming, limited knowledge and small scale farm units, and poor access to markets, dilapidated storage structures and exorbitant transport costs, among others, undermine Uganda’s potential for productivity.
MTIC and TUI, therefore pledge to support cooperatives in the areas of:
- reconstruction of storage facilities
- improving access to competitive markets
- development of collective drying platforms in villages
- acquisition of food processing technology for value addition
- access to affordable transport, and competitive markets
While officiating at the MoU signing, Amb. Julius Onen, the Permanent Secretary at MTIC, said, “The basis of development is through collective effort by all citizens”. Ambassador Onen said that the cooperative movement globally has been at the forefront of economic development and Uganda is not an exception. The Ministry of Trade signs MoUs with institutions that have socio-economic development at their core. TUI is one such organization.
Amb. Onen encouraged Ugandans to embrace the cooperative business model. He said that individually, we underutilize our potential, whereas collectively, we can achieve so much. “How can you be rich if you don’t have the culture of working together?” he probed.
Regarding the issue of dormant cooperatives and briefcase cooperatives, Amb. Onen said that the mantle to grow a cooperative lies firstly in the hands of the members. “Coops are formed by 30 like-minded people,” he said. Amb. Onen said cooperatives should attract the right people and these people must take responsibility for developing the cooperative. He said, however, that the Ministry of Trade is working on a vetting framework to avert arising cases of briefcase cooperatives.
Amb. Onen reassured cooperators that the verification process for the compensation for war loss claims, is yet to start, and The Uhuru Institute will be part of the verification team.
The Chairman of the Board of TUI was grateful for the opportunity. “This event is a stepping stone in the revitalization of cooperatives. “We thank the Ministry,” Eng. Dunstan Kisuule said.
The MoU is valid for 3 years, renewable.