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USADF boosts Ankole primary societies with over Shs 2.8bln grant

MBARARA, January 30, 2024 – The U.S. African Development Foundation [ USADF ] in collaboration with the Government of Uganda is to inject a total of Shs 2,850,000,000 into selected coffee primary societies in Ankole Sub-region.

According to Julius Tugume, USADF Consultant, the societies to be supported are associated with Banyankole Kweterana Co-op Union [BKCU] and Ankole Coffee Producers’ Cooperative Union [ACPCU]. They include; Muhanda Murungi Co-op society Ltd [Rwampara district], Nyakahita Muhirwa Cooperative society Limited [Mitooma district], and Banyankole Coffee Services [Sheema district].

Each of the societies will receive US$ 250,000 [Shs 930 million] to support future plans aimed at boosting their coffee business.

USADF is an independent U.S. Government agency established by Congress in 1980 to support and invest in African-owned enterprises meant to improve the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable communities in the continent.

While attending the Annual General Meeting of  Muhanda Murungi Cooperative Society on Thursday, Tugume said a total of 50 primary societies applied to receive the grant meant to benefit community groups and small enterprises in the region.

“We encouraged so many primary societies to apply but many thought it was fraud and others had no requirements because they need audited accounts, a land title, members have to be loyal to the cooperative union and it must be registered with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives [MTIC],” he said, adding that other primary societies in Ankole Sub-region would benefit in the future

Tugume said the grant is also meant to help primary societies to boost their capabilities in revenue generation,, create jobs, improve farmer incomes, and achieve sustainable market-based growth thus appealing to more cooperative societies to apply.

In 2023, two primary societies affiliated to BKCU benefited from the USADF grant. They are; Nyamirima Mutegaya Cooperative Society Limited in Ibanda district and Abateganda Cooperative Society in Ntungamo district.

“The two coffee cooperatives applied received trucks, motor vehicles, and they are now constructing a warehouse and premises for coffee hullers,” Tugume said.

Alex Kamugisha, Chairman Muhanda Murungi Cooperative Society, appreciated USADF for giving their society a grant. He asked members to remain loyal to the cooperative society if they are to put the money to good use.

“This money will come but let us love and support our society. Don’t receive crop finance and tomorrow you divert the coffee to another society or factory,” he said adding that, “If we do support our society, then our children will get jobs and work from here to develop our area.”

Elidard Ndyaguma, a member of Muhanda Murungi appealed to the leaders to be transparent if they are to win the members’ trust and support.

“If the leaders fail to be transparent, then we won’t develop therefore we are requesting our leaders to always account for any money they receive at the society,” he said.

He added: “Call meetings explain to the members what is going on and if you do then members cannot fail to support you.”

Amon Mutabarura, District Commercial Officer Rwampara said the grant will transform cooperatives affiliated to Rwampara Coffee Cooperative Union.

He urged the district leadership to support cooperatives if they are to grow the local revenue base. “You will never have money until you wake up and support cooperatives as a competitive advantage. Rwampara has a lot of coffee,” Mutabarura noted.

Abasa Ainamaani Rubaromba, Chairman BKCU encouraged Muhanda Murungi Cooperative Society to lobby for more grants if they want to breakeven. “Put more efforts, USADF is the one that has been supporting us [BKCU] to renovate our coffee stores, secure machines, and trucks. I cannot encourage you to miss such a golden opportunity, so many cooperatives are willing to apply for the grant,” Rubaromba said.

He also appealed to society leaders to secure land titles to protect their land from land grabbers.

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