GULU – Construction of Paicho Central Kal Growers’ Cooperative Society Limited (PCKGCS) store has delayed due to inadequate funds.
Construction of the store by Stanhope General Merchandise, should have started in October 2020, with funds from the Agriculture Cluster Development Project (ACDP).
The government gave Shs 140 million for constructing the store and the cooperative was to pay Shs 69 million, so that the store worth Shs 209 million shillings is built.
ACDP started in January 2012 as a partnership project between Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF) and the World Bank with finances from International Development Bank (IDA).
The project is being implemented in 57 districts across Uganda to raise on-farm productivity and marketable volumes of selected agricultural commodities such as; beans, rice, cassava, coffee and maize.
Under the project, a benefitting cooperative is supposed to pay 33% of cost of building a store.
However, Opiro Simon, the Chairperson of PCKGCS, said members of the cooperative planned for a big store that would cost Shs 240 million, which affected the start of construction. He said their request to the ministry to add more funds for them was turned down.
Opiro said, the cooperative members made their contribution by clearing the construction site, mining sand, buying bricks and gravel, which are at the construction site, but lack the cash needed to execute the store plan.
“The store was estimated to cost Shs 240 million, but our budget is only 210 million, we had already signed a contract and we thought the ministry would add for us some money, but they said they work on tight budgets,” Opiro said.
Following this hitch, the cooperative was advised to take the matter to Gulu District Commercial Officer (DCO) for advice.
“When we wrote to the DCO for help, we were advised to reduce the size of the store, commensurate with the money we have,” Opiro said, adding that, “I was told that the reviewed plan will soon be printed out, before the contractor can start work.”
Ocen Alfred, the Gulu DCO said the cooperative lacks the full 33% needed for the store to be constructed according to the plan and is relying on the money given by the government.
“The 33% is a requirement that they must have. And since they don’t have it and the project has reached this level, there is no need for the money to go back, but it is already a problem.”
He said the cooperative is working with the district engineer to make the necessary adjustments so that a store, which is worth the amount of money they have, is built,” Ocen said.
PCKGCS was formed in 1964. It has 187 members all dealing in oil seed production and other grains.
The cooperative is struggling with a lack of infrastructure, which has forced the members to hold meetings under a tree.
The only structural building is a dilapidated store that was built decades back and was ravaged during the Lord’s Resistance Army [LRA] war.
Currently, the cooperative hires a store for keeping their produce.
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