UCA – PRODUCER ORGANIZATIONS ACTIVITY (POA)
This report highlights activities implemented by UCA and progress for the period up to June 2017. UCA is a sub recipient in the implementation of POA with TNS Uganda. UCA`s mandate is on the delivery of objective three that focuses on strengthening the enabling environment for agricultural production and development through local advocacy. UCA uses the FACT methodology and over the period continued to roll out FACT approaches in the 12 districts across the four regions.
About the Activity/Project
The Producer Organizations Activity Implemented by Techno Serve in Partnership with UCA focuses on strengthening Local level advocacy capacity of Farmers and cooperatives in 12 district of Uganda. The project seeks to build local level advocacy capacity of POs to strengthen the enabling environment for agricultural production and marketing.
The strategic approach of the Activity focuses on secondary Producer Organizations (POs) as critical change leaders in equipping member POs with the skills, knowledge, and linkages needed to mature and develop into sustainable businesses that meet the demands of their farmers by focusing on three objectives:
- Assisting POs to operate as viable business entities, as buyers of improved inputs and reliable suppliers in the coffee, maize, and beans value chains;
- Assisting POs to provide demand-driven services to meet evolving member needs, including more broadly representing the interests and concerns of women and youth; and
- Strengthening the enabling environment for agricultural development through Local advocacy.
Under the activity partnership, UCA leads on objective three which looks at creating an enabling environment for POs and is directly responsible for its delivery. As part of the delivery, UCA intends to Work with the POs to identify agricultural related issues and influence duty bearers and decision makers.
Through this project, UCA has built capacity of producer organizations including cooperatives in 12 districts using the FACT methodology. These POs can now engage LG decision makers at various levels with evidence and in a structured way. As a result of this project cooperatives have lobbied for roads to be opened in their communities to ease access to farmers, 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 LG plans and budgets at Sub county and District levels.
In the same period, UCA supported secondary POs to cascade FACT approaches by facilitating RPOs to organize sub county level meetings and engagements to lobby LGs at that level. POs continued to demonstrate confidence and a degree of empowerment that enabled them to engage LGs on key issues affecting them. During the year, UCA also continued conversations with in the POs in regard to youth involvement and participation. Youth leaders from district and sub county level were supported to facilitate youth focused agricultural advocacy work. Having spent the greater part of the first half of the project on training POs, supporting them to do advocacy stakeholder maps, identify and profile their issues and to present them, focus has been and will continue to follow up, facilitate structured and unstructured dialogues and engagement between POs and decision makers on key identified issues.
Key activities implemented in the reporting period
Formation/Activation District Farmer & Cooperative platforms
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 LG production staff. They have taken different names and forms depending on the local context but the main purpose is advocacy and citizen participation in decision making in regard to cooperatives and farming as a business.
In Bugiri it is called the District Cooperative Forum while in other districts it has taken other descriptions. The platform in Bugiri was officially launched by the Minister of State for Cooperatives Hon. Gume Ngobi in February 2017. The platform has
The Minister of Trade and Cooperatives during the Launch of the Cooperative
“This is the first of its kind in the whole country, am going to ensure that it is replicated in the other districts of the country….” As told by the Hon minister. Ngobi Gume during the launch of the Cooperative forum in Bugiri.
continued to be an alternative space and voice for the farmers and cooperatives in the district. UCA through POA has also catalyzed the revival of the Mubende District Farmers Association as an advocacy platform and space for farmers and cooperators in the agricultural sector to engage the decision makers in a structured and organized way. Similar platforms have been activated in Kasese and Kamwenge District with the support of the USAID POA project.
District stakeholder Dialogues
As a strategy for facilitating structured engagement and interaction between POs and Local Government decision makers, UCA POA organized a series of district dialogues in Masaka, Mubende, Kasese, Kamwenge and Bugiri. These dialogues served as spaces for POs to present and discuss issues affecting their operating environment with the decision makers. As a result PO issues were taken up for consideration in to LG plans and budgets in Kamwenge, Kasese, Bugiri, Sironko, Kapchorwa, Mubende among others. These included access roads, renovation of irrigation channels, recruitment of extension workers among
others. Training members/partners of the Masaka
Innovation Platform in Advocacy under POA
Supporting Capacity for Local Level legislation ‘’…Am happy our district is trying to
Through the USAID Feed the future funded come up with an ordinance on
Producer Organizations Activity, UCA was able to counterfeit, this has been very serious support capacity and facilitate capacity and most people have been faked with development for POs to engage on issues of fake seeds, hopefully with this ,we legislation at local level. Legislation was mainly in shall have high yields..” Mutenyi
Simon-TAABU Cooperative regard to challenges that farmers are facing in regard to counterfeit agricultural inputs. As a result, two district were able to discuss and pass bills related to counterfeit agricultural inputs and one on grain handling. This happened in Bugiri and Kapchorwa. In Jinja, Kasese, Sironko and Kamwenge the bills are at different levels but have not reached the approval stage. The passed bills will now be presented to solicitor general to check for consistency with the constitution and other laws before they become enforceable ordinances. These legislations once approved and implemented will greatly contribute to a reduction in losses incurred by farmers and also boost productivity because of genuine inputs on market and proper post harvest handling practices.
“…I must say ,this has been a great challenge for the district and for sure ,we had failed to have even draft ordinance in place, Thanks to Feed the Future for your continuous support to the District” Chelegant, ACAO Kapchorwa.
Facilitating Farmer and Cooperators
Participation to influence LG Plans & Budgets One of the key aspects that POA focuses on is ensuring the voices, priorities and aspirations of producer organizations are heard and reflected in the LG decision making structures. During the course of the year a number of POs were supported using the facilitative FACT model to mobilize, organize aggregate issues based on evidence, document them and present them to the stakeholders. As a result the POA supported POs were able to influence LGs and had their priorities not only reflected in plans but also implemented. In Lira Nyekorach PO was able to influence the opening of a community access road, a similar achievement was registered in Kapchorwa by Kaserem ACE, in Mubende by Myanzi ACE among others. In Kasese one of the POs was
“……Some of these roads were in the sub county 2016/2017 plan and budget and nothing had been done yet, hadn’t we followed up on them, we wouldn’t have them worked on, I didn’t know that these people need pushing, I will always demand for what belongs to us .Thanks to Techno-Serve/UCA under the POA project, You have indeed built our capacities in lobby and advocacy, which we never thought was part of the farmers. The Farmers will now freely move and enhance on their farming business! Mr. Isa Kamonges,
Chairperson –Kaserem ACE
able to lobby for a renovation of an irrigation channel while in Kasese with Rugendabara POA supported the advocacy efforts for a transition from an exploitative power tariff to a more affordable one.
- Slow processes in LGs that are outside the control and influence of the project team that delay decisions
- Poor documentation of processes by POs
- The absence of financial incentives for LG staff hinders their full participation and involvement
The appreciation of advocacy and the FACT methodology has increased among POs. In this period we saw more Secondary POs apply and cascade FACT approaches to the RPOs, the number of engagements are increasing as we go along while the level of assertiveness in the POs has increased and all this can be attributed to the FACT methodology that takes an empowerment approach for POs to engage those in positions of responsibility. The engagements and field support by the advocacy advisors need to continue to enable sustained engagements, empowerment and influence of the farmers on decision makers for an improved enabling environment for agriculture.g