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TCU upset over delayed installation of value addition machinery

SOROTI, March 13, 2024 – The management of Teso Cooperative Union Limited [ TCU ] has appealed to local leaders to intervene so that the cassava processing machinery can be delivered and installed at the production unit.

According to John Bosco Otim, the Manager TCU, a modern processing facility worth Shs 417 million was established through the Agricultural Cluster Development Project’s matching grant facility under the Ministry of Agriculture.

However, Otim says the required machinery needs to be installed at the processing facility so that TCU can embark on cassava processing and catch up with its peers already processing cassava.

“It is to our disadvantage that even when the Agricultural Cluster Development Project is coming to an end, the contractor has not yet done the installation of machines,” Otim said, adding that cassava farmers of the cooperative are getting less money because there is no value addition taking place.

“Among the machines not supplied include, a solar drier, cassava peeling machine, and washing machine,” he said, adding that TCU is losing business due to a lack of the machinery.

However, Moses Okello Echeku, District Agricultural Officer Soroti said TCU’s supplier has not delivered the machines, adding that  other cooperatives have had their machines installed. The cooperatives include Community Link for Development Organisation in Arapai, Awoja Rural Produce Saving and Credit Cooperative in Aukot Subcounty, and Amoru- Amoroto Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited in Awaliwal Subcounty.

He said ACDP managers in Kampala are handling TCU’s matter and will ensure that all the machinery is delivered and installed.

TCU was registered in 1954 under the cooperative Societies Ordinance 1946. The major aim of the union found in Teso Sub-region in Eastern Uganda is to promote the social and economic interests of its members. It serves the districts of Bukedea, Katakwi, Amuria, Kaberamaido, Soroti, Serere, Ngora, Kumi, Kapelebyong and Kalaki.

During the year between 1969/70 to 1974 /75, TCU experienced its boom where production was at its maximum reaching its highest level of cotton production of 74,200 and declined to 10,405 bales of cotton lint giving an average of 36,412 bales annually. These high levels of production and marketing were attributed to the existence of tractors for hire and, availability of inputs and tools at primary society level.

The market demand and prices of cotton externally influenced production and supported by established bulking infrastructure as well as the presence of Lint Marketing Board that played the mediatory role.

TCU in addition to Cotton Marketing operated a produce marketing department that used to handle other members produce other than cotton. These include cassava, groundnuts, sorghum, millet, maize, cowpeas, green grams, rice, beans, among others. The highest level of produce marketing was attained during 1970 / 1971 marketing season when the said department handled more than 5,000 tonnes of produce.

According to Elija Okupa, Chairman of the Cooperative, and Kasilo County Member of Parliament, they are focused on promoting and supporting agricultural production, processing, and marketing, as well as capacity building for our members and staff. “We believe that through these efforts, we can make a positive impact on the livelihoods of our members and contribute to the development of our region and country as a whole.”

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