Swisscontact Uganda signs an MOU with Uganda Cooperative Alliance (UCA) to support key players in the agricultural and entrepreneurship ecosystems in Uganda.

On 19th October 2020, Swisscontact and Uganda Cooperative Alliance (UCA) Ltd signed an MOU that provides the framework for strengthening the collaboration between the two organizations.

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.

Foundation for synergy Both organizations possess track records that provide a strong foundation for synergy. For over 20 years, Swisscontact Uganda has implemented projects using the inclusive markets approach. This involves working with market players to create sustainable incomes and jobs mainly focused on agricultural sector. In the last six years alone, Swisscontact has supported over 70,000 youth, farmers, and SMEs. 

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.

Read article in the New Vision newspaper