UGANDA – The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries of Uganda has issued grants worth Shs 3.7 billion (US$994,700) to 16 farmers cooperatives in Masaka, South of Uganda.
The grant is aimed to support agro-processing, value addition and acquisition of standard storage for their produce in a bid to increase their turn-over.
Some of the beneficiaries of the financing are West Buganda Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union, Kaka Farmers Association, Masaka District Farmers Association, Bugabira Farmers Group and Masaka Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative among others.
The funding, according to The Observer report, is under the Agriculture Cluster Development Project (ACDP), which is jointly funded by the government and the World Bank, with the aim of raising farm productivity and marketable volumes of selected agricultural commodities in the different zones of the country.
Michael Okello, the grants officer in ministry of Agriculture, says the grant is meant to support organised cooperatives, build their capacity to effectively respond to emerging challenges in the agricultural sector that affects their productivity and earnings.
Okello explains that government found it viable to focus its energies and resources on promoting the value addition aspect in the agricultural sector, so as to make it a more profitable venture to local farmers.
Denis Tumusiime, the head of finance and administration at Agriculture Cluster Development Project, explains that with proper post-harvest handling and processing facilities, farmers will be protected from making losses they often suffer in hurried sale of unprocessed produce.
He advised the beneficiary groups that are outside the power grid to consider dedicating part of their grant to extend electricity to their areas to facilitate agricultural production and value addition.
Badiru Kagga, the West Buganda Buganda Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union board secretary, says the grant will support them realize their dream of procuring a modern coffee hurler, which they have been craving for to boost their processing capacity.
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