ENHANCING COOPERATIVES COMPETITIVENESS PROJECT (ECCP)
Uganda Cooperative Alliance in partnership with We Effect is implementing a two year project (2015-2016) known as Enhancing Cooperatives’ Competitiveness Project. The project is directly benefitting seven unions namely: Semuliki Cooperative Union located in Bundibugyo, Mt Rwenzori Coffee Farmers Union located in Kasese, Twezimbe Area Cooperative Enterprise located in Kyankwanzi, Uganda Crane Creameries Cooperative Union located in Mbarara, Teso Tropical Fruits Cooperative Union located in Soroti’, West Acholi Cooperative Union located in Gulu and Okoro Coffee Growers’ Union located in Zombo District. There are 236 Cooperative societies affiliated to the seven unions which together reach a total of 47,154 individual co-operators including 24,528 adult men, 11,325 adult women, 8,082 male youth and 3,219 female youth. Majority of individual co-operators are farmers involved in various enterprises including coffee, dairy, cotton, cocoa, maize and beans. Through their primary societies the unions work to improve production and productivity, value addition and marketing of the enterprises they deal in.
The project’s development objective is “Reduced poverty and injustice among cooperators” while its immediate objective is “Co-operatives delivering services required by their members sustainably”.
The project has three outputs namely:
- UCA’s capacity to provide services to Co-operative members enhanced.
- Seven (7) District co-operative unions with enhanced capacity to provide services to their members
- A conducive environment for cooperative development enhanced
KEY ACHIEVEMENTS ON PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION 2015/2016.
The following has been achieved during the period 2015-2016.
- Okoro Coffee Grower’s Cooperative Union in West Nile has been supported to finalize their strategic plan as well as prepare their business plan for coffee.
- Twezimbe Area Cooperative Enterprise and Mt Rwenzori Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union have been supported to review their business plans. They have also been guided on bulking and marketing of members’’ produce.
- West Acholi cooperative Union (WACU) has been supported to identify a second viable enterprise and they have also been supported to put in place leadership search and vetting committee.
- With support from the project has been facilitated to hold their Special General meeting in preparation for the Annual General Meeting. During the special general meeting they were guided to put in place a leadership search and vetting committee.
- Twezimbe ACE was supported in negotians with Uganda Development Bank regarding the loan that they have with the bank. The negotiations led to revision loan repayment terms that are more favourable to the union.
- Board members and staff of six unions were taken for study visit to share experiences with Kibinge Coffee Farmers cooperative in Masaka and Ankole coffee Producers Union in Mbarara regarding marketing of members’’ produce. As a result of the experience sharing, Mt Rwenzori increased on the volumes of members’ coffee marketed and Okoro coffee also embarked on marketing of Members’ produce.
- Board members and staff of all the seven Unions participating in the Project were trained in Lobby and Advocacy.
- An advocacy program was developed for UCA.
Results On Project Outputs.
|Project Outputs & their Indicators||Effort- Activities/events carried out –January-June 2016||Outcome (could be as a result of 2016 interventions and outcome is being realized
during this reporting period)
|Comment on effects and
UCA capacity to provide services to Co-operative members enhanced.
|Indicator 1: UCA’s
Lobby and Advocacy program developed.
|An advocacy strategy was developed for UCA and a program elaborated.||Unions now are in better position to carry out L&A and effort is being made to link their initiatives to the UCA agenda.||The process is still in its infancy stage and follow up will be necessary for meaningful change|
|Indicator2: UCA staff’s co-operative institutional building capacity
|UCA staff trained on organizational capacity assessment (OCA)||Staff were able to carry out assessments of unions and identified gaps that need to be addressed|| The actions agreed are yet to be carried out to address gaps identified.
|Output 01: Seven (7) District co-operative unions with enhanced capacity to provide services to their members|
|Indicator 1: 50% No. of unions with revised strategic and business plans.||Okoro was supposed to have final discussions of their strategic and business plans.
Mt Rwenzori : guided the union on business plan implementation and action planning for Primary Cooperatives based on the business plan.
|The final strategic and business plans are in place together with action plans for implementation||Discussions included identifying sources of funding for the business plan which was lacking in the drafts.|
Increase in volumes of co-
operative unions’ business operations.
|West Acholi Cooperative Union was supposed to identify a second viable enterprise, meetings were held with Nile Breweries to discuss a contract for sorghum production.||Meetings to finalize contract have been scheduled.||There is a possibility of the union making some money if they invest in cleaning equipment.|
|Indicator3: 30%. Increase in the number of active union members||Encouraged Unions to do business (Okoro, Semuliki, Mt Rwenzori.||Okoro Coffee organized collective marketing with Kyagalanyi and bulked 17 tons and has set up a coffee nursery bed to sell and distribute among its members and new coffee farmers for future increased production.
Semuliki is active actor in cocoa marketing and has registered increased membership.
Semuliki has since mobilized and bulked more volumes and pushing for international trade with help of exporting unions, and is preparing to establish other member services like financial, hardware and food store for member needs.
|Okoro Coffee – the marketing done gave an insight of active/committed members per society beyond project activities|
A conducive environment for co-operative development enhanced.
|Project interventions||Activity/event undertaken||Outcome||Comment on effects and impact|
| A conducive
environment for cooperatives’ efficient and effective governance and operations.
|Meetings have been carried out with relevant authorities at various levels to inform regulatory tools affecting the cooperatives.||– The Cooperative Societies Act amendment bill is currently before the new parliament.
– The TIER4 microfinance act was passed by parliament Cabinet has also passed the proposed amendments to the Cooperative Act 1991 and a public consultation process is now underway
|We are eagerly waiting for parliament to start the debate on the proposed
The act intends to put in place the Uganda
Microfinance Regulatory Authority which will oversee and strengthen the supervision of SACCOs among others.
|Lobby for resources from government and other actors for the cooperative movement.
|– UCA has been engaged in discussions on how to improve
financing among farmers
|– The government of Uganda has approved an agricultural insurance subsidy of 5 billion shillings in the next financial year. UCA has been given a slot on the subsidy management steering committee.||The subsidy has been designed in such a way that only farmers organised under formally registered farmer groups like cooperatives will access this subsidy. We hope it will go a long way in decreasing the agricultural financing costs and make it more affordable to the farmers.|
|Networks created with strategic partners and
|– UCA hosted the cooperative forum meeting which tried to discuss and make a follow up on the recommendations
made in the last forum
|– A bigger and more inclusive plan was laid on how to attract more support to the forum but more importantly on how to take up some of the recommendations made in last year’s convention||The forum activities are limited because of lack of a standalone secretariat to make a follow up on the day to day operations of the forum and more importantly the funds to|
|finance some of the recommendations|
|–||UCA together with Uhuru Institute spearheaded an exercise during which they collected in collated and prioritized issues that are vital in the performance/development of cooperatives in the country with the purpose of presenting them to the Rt. Hon. Speaker of the parliament of the
Republic of Uganda
|A detailed 10 point petition paper was prepared and presented to the speaker of parliament||Follow up on the final post petition work-plan to be spearheaded by UCA.|
- The support provided under the project is in response to the identified and expressed needs of the participating unions and their members as they were prioritized during a capacity assessment carried out for each of the unions. It therefore addresses their real problems and challenges which they must overcome in order for them to provide better services to their members.
The unions that are participating in the project are left to do their work and are only supported to help them deliver on their mandates. This approach helps build their capacity and ensures sustainable provision of cooperative services to their members