On 05 May 2017, Uganda Co-operative Alliance Ltd (UCA) entered into partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) under the Vegetable Oil Development Project Phase 2 (VODP2) with funds from IFAD, to support farmer institutional development and strengthening under the oilseed component  supporting the value chains of sunflower, groundnuts, soybeans and sesame in four production hubs of Eastern Uganda Hub, Lira/Lango Hub, Northern Hub and West Nile Hub as well as the Oil Palm component in Kalangala district.

UCA’s mandate was to support the formation and strengthening of Higher-Level Farmer Organisations in the targeted districts, for effective delivery of services to farmers by the end of the project.

In order to achieve this, various activities were implemented beginning with Farmer Organization Capacity Assessment which guided intervention and support areas for each FO, this was followed with implementation of other activities as per the Terms of Reference and work plan. The focus in the initial year was to support farmer mobilisation under their groups, guide registration as primary co-operatives (LLFOs) and eventually guide the formation and registration of HLFOs along with carrying out TOTs for the DLG and PSP staff.

Under the oilseed component, most of the focus was put into facilitating formation and registration of both LLFOs and HLFOs, as well as supporting existing and the newly registered ones to put in place governance and business management structures, developing operational policies and manuals, business plans, establishing and supporting market linkages and linkage to financial institutions,  There has been a lot of progress over the contract period.

During the assignment period, over 99 HLFO were formed and supported to provide collective access to oilseed input and output aggregation and marketing to oilseed millers and off takers across the 4 oilseed Hubs serving over 896 LLFO and a total of 63932 individual farmers engaged in oilseeds


HUBS  HLFOs  LLFOs # of male (>30 yrs) #of female (>30yrs) # of male & female (15-29 yrs) Total Farmers
LIRA 27 97 7,433 6,735 5,885 19,756
MBALE 24 230 5,239 5,117 2,661 13,017
GULU 24 462 7,125 9,896 5,426 22,447
ARUA 24 107 2,459 3,134 3,119 8,712
TOTAL 99 896 22,256 24,882 17,091 63,932


Over 85 HLFOs in the 4 Hubs were supported to develop bankable business plans, operational business model canvases, budgets and work plans to guide activity implementation and service delivery.

As part of the assignment to ensure financial and market linkages, all HLFO were linked to the established oilseed millers and off-takers across the HUBs and are already supplying, with supply contracts to Ngetta tropical holdings, Mt Meru, Mukwano, NileAgro, St Francis oil mill in Padibe TC in Lamwo district to mention. 26 of the HLFO were linked to financial service providers and are accessing financial services from the established financial institutions like MSCL, Post Bank, Opportunity Bank, Pride microfinance to mention.

UCA during the assignment period trained and skilled the PSP and participating DLG staff in farmer organisation institutional development for continued support and follow-up. Training workshops were conducted for PSPs and DLG staff in all the hubs to enhance their ability/capacity to support the FGs, LLFOs and HLFOs in areas of leadership, management, handling business operations, planning & budgeting, bulking and collective marketing plus operational procedures for business.

Under the oil palm component in Kalangala district, UCA took the lead role as contracted, in the discussion and process leading to the identification of a suitable form and orientation of a farmer organisation for the oil palm farmers and the cooperative model was selected out of the many options and accepted by oil palm farmers, formation and final registration of ssese oil palm growers cooperative (SOPGCO) was achieved in record time. The process and activities of positioning the newly structured oil palm cooperative in the oil palm business included the orientation and training of leaders and staff in the cooperative business model, organising general meeting to pass enabling  byelaws resolutions and adopting the constitution, facilitating registration of the cooperative, mobilisation and registration of oil palm farmers as members, support in the design and development of operational manuals and guides like governance, finance and accounting manual, strategic and business plan development as well as conducting exposure visits to other cooperatives. im

Other activities in the oil palm component included the support to improved operational and business management capacity of the Ssese oilpalm growers SACCO (SOPAG-SACCO) a financial cooperative of the oil palm growers in Kalalanga district, by the close of the assignment, SOPAG SACCO was being supported to operate outreach and mobile  branch network operations in the distant blocks and centres to make their services more accessible, the SACCO was also being supported to design more relevant and affordable products given the changing status of oil palm farmers and increasing income status and number of commercial farmers in the district.


The official closeout of the assignment coincided with the IFAD Final Impact mission which organised missions and stakeholder meeting and discussions in Kalalangala for oil palm, Lira and Gulu for oilseed stakeholders, in all sessions, UCA work and contribution to the attainment of project objectives was appreciated and given a green light for inclusion in the new projects underway- National oil palm project (NOP) and National oilseed project (NOSP).