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Over 350 farmer cooperatives supported to boost value addition

JINJA, February 12, 2024 – The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries [MAAF] has so far supported 358 farmer cooperatives/ organisations across the country to construct storage facilities and install value addition equipment in a bid to boost their incomes.

According to MAAIF, the facilities provided under the Agriculture Cluster Development Programme [ACDP], have helped farmers to avoid post-harvest losses but has also enabled them to earn more income from processed food items such as maize flour.

Under the ACDP, a US$ 75000 matching grant has been provided to support 67 percent of the required investments by the cooperatives to establish post-harvest handling facilities, as well as primary processing facilities, targeting area-based cooperative enterprises/rural organisations.

According to ACDP’s evaluation report, an additional storage capacity of 82, 235 metric tonnes has been established to boost collective storage and bulking. “Because of the machinery in place, the percentage of marketed produce for crops like maize, rice, beans, cassava, and coffee has increased by 50 percent,” says the report.

The cooperatives have commended government for availing a matching grant that has enabled them to build storage facilities and acquire value addition machinery.

For instance, Abudu Magoola, a member of Bulunguli Farmers Multi-purpose Cooperative in Bugweri district says value addition equipment are expensive while most farmers cannot afford bank loans.

According to Charles Mwonda, Project Manager ACDP, farmers under Bulunguli Multi-purpose Cooperative did not have a processing mill before they received the money under the matching grant arrangement.

He adds: “Through the ACDP programme, they were financed up to 67 percent of the funds needed, adding that 33 percent co-funding was from members of the cooperative, and now they have been able to establish a storage facility with 100 metric tonnes and install maize mill.”

For his part, Isaac Mayegu, Chairperson of Mount Elgon Coffee and Honey Cooperative Society Limited in Mbale said they received about Shs 246.3 million under ACDP which they used to construct a machine shelter and acquire a coffee roaster.

He adds that Shs 82.2 million [33 percent co-funding] was used to purchase land, construct a perimeter wall and fencing. With the coffee roaster, grinder and sealing machine now available, the roasting capacity of coffee has increased to 300 kilogrammes per day.

He says the cooperative has been able to attract more funding and has received support from United States Africa Development Foundation, although he says the cooperative is in negotiations with Uganda Development Bank and Post Bank for more funds to boost its business.

On the other hand, farmer cooperatives/organisation in Kumi district say the matching grant has enabled them to construct storage facilities and get value addition equipment. Oturukuku Kachaboi Development Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisation is one of the beneficiaries.

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