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OWC to Cluster Beneficiaries For Value Addition

GULU - The second phase of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) is aiming at clustering beneficiaries into primary and secondary societies, to enable them add value to their products and increase the market.

This is according to Lt Gen Angina Charles, the out-going Deputy Chief Coordinator (DCC) of OWC.

While handing over office to the new DCC, Maj Gen Kavuma Sam at the 4th Division Barracks in Gulu City; Maj Gen Kavuma said the second phase of OWC which started this year running to 2026, will ensure that benefiting households that operated individually, are put into groups of about 30 households, depending on enterprise choices that do well in their environment, for them to reap more benefits.

“If we are able to work around that, then whatever facilities will be shared in common. They can then do some value addition and not sell their produce in raw form, which fetches a low price,” Angina said.

Angina, also noted that Uganda loses a lot of waste that could be turned into manure, animals, and poultry feeds, because of selling unprocessed farm produce.

https://thecooperator.news/cassava-value-addition-to-support-livestock-feedlot-technology/

“For instance, people carry a whole banana from Mbarara to Kampala, yet people in Kampala just need the peeled bananas. All these peels we bring to Kampala only burden KCCA and the government again has to spend money to collect the waste, which should have remained in the farms to be used as manure,” he said.

Angina reasoned that when benefitting farmers are clustered, they will produce in bulk and this will make it easier to get for them big and better markets, as bigger markets require a huge volume.

“Depending on the volume of their production, it will be easy to lobby for the cottage industry, medium industry, or major industry,” Angina said.

He also said, "Having industries would mean that even if there is no market for crops like maize; we can process it to posho, baby’s food, cornflakes, ethanol or sanitizers, to fit demand in the internal market. So, there is quite a lot that can be achieved.”

“The residues can still be processed to animal and poultry feeds. All these were lost because we would sell all the maize in grains, and we lost all the benefits that could have caused economic transformation for our people,” Angina further remarked.

On why OWC has not had a great impact on the lives of beneficiaries, Angina said the problem was because the resources have been scattered and given to beneficiaries who were not ready or willing to take up a particular enterprise. In the second phase, inputs will be procured by the beneficiaries, to synchronize their planting.

The first phase of OWC acted like a vehicle for enhancing the effectiveness of agricultural reforms in the households and community with more emphasis on input distribution and enterprise development.

However, there have been numerous complaints of distribution of poor-quality seeds compounded by late, or early distribution.

“Resources went into input procurements, and yet during distribution, you find that the beneficiaries are not ready and all those inputs went to waste as the beneficiaries dumped them in the compound or put them under verandas.

“Now OWC will not be blamed for taking inputs too early or too late, because the money will arrive in time and farmers who are organized will buy what they want depending on when it will rain in their area. Complaints of buying poor quality inputs will not be there because now the traceability of who has brought the input at the farm service center and agriculture authority will be there to certify,” he said.

Kavuma, the new DCC said there is need to also change the mindset of the beneficiaries.

“As we carry on with the activity of helping our people, we need to mobilize beneficiaries, enter their brains, and show them the opportunities that both God and the government have given, otherwise, they will remain poor,” Kavuma said.

Mindset change, he said, was what has been lacking since OWC started.

OWC was launched by President Museveni in July 2013 in Nakaseke district with the main objective of raising household incomes by transforming subsistence farmers into commercial farmers.

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