Strengthening Local Level Advocacy Capacity of Cooperators
At local levels, farmers through their Farmer organizations and Cooperatives were involved in meetings, participatory research done with the technical guidance of UCA, better stakeholder analysis and mapping done and the policy proposals/structured issue papers presented to the respective local governments to influence Local Government development plans and budgets for the year 2017/2018. This was done with financial support from USAID and the Inter Action.
The USAID Feed the Future Uganda Producer Organizations Activity POA
The Producer Organizations Activity Implemented by UCA in partnership with Techno Serve focuses on strengthening Local level advocacy capacity of Farmers and cooperatives in 12 district of Uganda. Through this project, UCA has built capacity of producer organizations including cooperatives in 12 districts. These POs can now engage Local Government decision makers at various levels with evidence based policy proposals. As a result of this program, cooperatives have lobbied for access roads in their communities and this has been achieved. Farmers in those communities have easy access to inputs, markets and other benefits that accrue with infrastructural development.
There has been increased effectiveness of extension services in some of the sub counties, member issues are now collected, analyzed, aggregated and presented to decision makers to influence the Local Government plans and budgets at Sub county and District levels.
District Farmer and Cooperatives platforms and Dialogues
Through the USAID POA activity, UCA has facilitated the formation of district platforms as alternative spaces for advocacy, dialogue and engagement between farmers and decision makers. These platforms are farmer led and the main conveners are the Local Government production departments. They have taken different names and forms depending on the local context but the main purpose is advocacy and Cooperators’ participation in decision making in regard to cooperatives and farming as a business. A case in point is Bugiri District Cooperative Forum in Bugiri District. Bugiri District Cooperative platform was officially launched by the Minister of State for Cooperatives Hon. Fred. Gume Ngobi in February 2017 and since the platform has served as an alternative space and voice for the farmers and cooperatives in the district. UCA through USAID POA Project played a key role in the revival of Mubende
District Farmers Association as well as in the platforms in Kasese and Kamwenge
Supporting Capacity for Local Level legislation
Through the USAID Feed the future funded Producer Organizations activity, UCA has supported and built capacities of POs to engage in legislative processes at local levels. Legislation has been mainly on challenges affecting farmers like counterfeit agricultural inputs, post-harvesting handling etc.
Two districts: Bugiri and Kapchorwa passed the bills in regard to counterfeit agricultural inputs and grain handling respectively awaiting approval at different stages of government in order for them to become ordinances. The same process of legislation is taking place in Jinja, Kasese, Sironko and Kamwenge where the bills have not yet passed by the district councils.
These legislations once approved into district ordinances and implemented, they will greatly contribute to a reduction in losses incurred by farmers and also boost productivity for increased household incomes of farmers.
Public Relations, visibility and other Engagements
This year, UCA has vigorously embarked on a campaign to improving on her visibility and public relations through the media platforms. A lot of TV and Radio talk shows have been organized across the country for many people to learn and understand the role of Cooperatives in social economic transformation. Peoples’ views across the country have been listened to and noted which gives UCA a direction of planning for better service delivery to the members and also give mobilization strategies for membership and other resources.
UCA has increased its online presence with a dynamic and modern website; UCA is now on twitter, WhatsApp and face book. This act as a faster and more convenient and cost effective mode of communication and interaction with both the local and international audience. All these achievements are attributed to UCA secretariat with support from development partners like InterAction, WE-Effect, Vi- Agro-forestry, UCA secretariat and others.
UCA has also actively organized and participated in major Cooperative events like the cooperative week and cooperative symposium, Cooperative celebrations among others. Because of the above activities, UCA has increasingly gained visibility and prominence as a thought leader in the cooperative and Farmer organizing agenda.