Business

Government Moves to Rejuvenate Cooperative Unions

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This was revealed by the Minister for Trade and Cooperatives Amelia Kyambadde while addressing journalists in Kampala.

Kyambadde explained that government has resolved to bring on board a number of interventions to enhance the performance of the cooperatives in the country.

These she said would include promotion of household level value addition and use of appropriate technology by farmers, facilitation of construction of storage facilities at different levels to ensure food security and provide value addition on farmers’ products.

“We are also bringing in a Warehouse Receipt System to streamline marketing of agricultural commodities for the benefit of all members,” she said. This should help in reducing post-harvest loss and increase on farmers’ incomes,” explained Kyambadde.

“Many of them failed on the way and closed down due to disputes, failure to meet and adjust to market demands, failure to maintain standards of products, cases of mismanagement and poor governance and non accountability,” said Trade and Industry Minister.

“We are also bringing in a Warehouse Receipt System [WRS] to streamline marketing of agricultural commodities for the benefit of all members. This should help in reducing post-harvest loss and increase on farmers’ incomes,” explained Kyambadde.

The intervention would also include promotion and formulation of cooperatives in diversified activities other than those based on tradition al cash crops, which include housing, herbal medicine, energy distribution diary and livestock cooperatives among others.

The minister therefore refuted allegations that government had entirely abandoned and contributed to extermination of Cooperatives, but was quick to admit that politics played a big role in destroying a good number of them.

“They had started entering into politics, exhibiting direct support to partisan politicians such as MPs and if these politicians lost in an election or their terms in office came to an end, the unions were left to suffer, without support from leaders.

She noted that Cabinet had approved Principles to amend the Cooperative Societies Act Cap 112 laws of Uganda to ensure that the cooperative law is in line with modern economic trends.

“This law will also hopefully adopt the Kenyan system, where politicians are not allowed to have a say in matters concerning management of cooperative unions,” she added.

The unions, which have been in operation in the country for the last 100years declined in the mid 1980’s to which observers have attributed to gross internal mismanagement and substantial politicization of their operations.

The cooperative unions have however grown in the number up to 14,060 today to include other sectors like banking, health and education among other sectors.

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