Partnering to benefit youth, farmers and farmer organizations
The agreement seeks to enhance the capacity of farmer organizations and contribute to an enabling business environment through research, business development, access to finance and linkages to farmers/youth and the market. The end goal is to improve the livelihoods and incomes of youth, farmers, and farmer organizations. UCA is an umbrella organization mandated to suggest policies relating to cooperative arbitration, advocacy, and capacity building to the Government.
Swisscontact's Country Director, Mr. Troulis Pavlos and UCA General Secretary Mr. Asiimwe Ivan appended their signatures to the agreement at the Swisscontact office in Kampala.
UCA has been contributing to the cooperative development movement since 1961, with over 20,000 cooperatives formed in Uganda and supported through business skills development, advisory services, and resource mobilization.
Swisscontact has collaborated with UCA in the past on several projects, namely the Inclusive Markets Uganda (IMU), Local Skills Development for Youth (LSDY) and Learn, Earn and Save (U-LEARN). Over 9,000 cocoa farmers and beekeepers under the IMU project have been supported in over 15 districts. Some of the cooperatives worked with include: Semuliki Cooperative Union, Bunyoro Cocoa Farmer Cooperative, Kabwoya Cocoa Farmer Cooperative, Kiboga Honey Processor Cooperative and Ntwentwe Area Beekeepers Cooperative.
Mr. Troulis welcomed the formal partnership with UCA and articulated his keenness in continued collaboration in the future. He noted that UCA has been a main partner in institutional development and technical training and has assisted Swisscontact achieve notable milestones and outcomes.
For example, Semuliki Cooperative Union, which was supported by Swisscontact from its infancy in 2013, has since grown from a cocoa association into a cooperative union. Semuliki now comprises of 14 primary cooperatives and 5000 members. It has expanded its service offering from cocoa aggregation to collective marketing, and provision of financial services to its members.
Mr. Asiimwe commended the impact Swisscontact projects had made and their alignment with several development frameworks like the National Development Plan (NDP) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 'The formal collaboration will eliminate duplication of services demanded by farmers while at the same time consolidate the strengths of the two organizations to deliver quality services to farmers,' he commented.