Farmers petition President over cooperatives

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By ALEX TUMUHIMBISE

KAKUMIRO/KAGADI. Farmers in greater Kibaale region under Kakumiro Growers Cooperative Union have petitioned President Museveni, asking him to intervene and save their cooperative which is at the verge of collapsing.
The cooperative union in Kakumiro District is said to be crippling financially because of several challenges affecting its operations.
The 64 year-old union was popularly known as a pivot of trade in cash crops such as cotton and coffee. However, the once glorified cooperative in production, agro-processing and marketing of cash crops started suffering decline in 1970s during Idi Amin’s rule and now faces closure due to lack of capital.
The cooperative’s board chairperson, Mr George Isingoma, on Wednesday said they have unsolved problems like the constant break down of the machines which are almost obsolete.
Mr Isingoma also noted that because of the financial challenges, the cooperative is unable to meet its operational costs.
“The staff is also lacks appropriate managerial skills and knowledge to run cooperative effectively, we have the problem of old machinery which constantly breakdown,’’ Mr Isingoma said.
The farmers, through the Kakumiro Resident District Commissioner, Mr Ambroze Onaria, are seeking President’s intervention.
“We want you to tell the President that his people who gave him votes need urgent intervention into their problems” Mr Isingoma told the RDC.
He added: “Government programmes in the region are failing because we have failed to revive these cooperative movements.”
Mr Isingoma said as a result of poor infrastructure, farmers have abandoned growing cash crops in favour of other food crops such as maize, beans and rice, among others, which he said has inflicted losses on the cooperative movements in the country.
However, Mr Onaria said: “There is a need to connect the union to other authorities in order to revive. The issue of cooperative unions is not supposed to be politicised because they help every citizen.”
Speaking to Daily Monitor, the farmers said the collapse of the union has had negative effects on their agriculture products like poor post-harvest management which has affected their market.

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