A building on Republic road in Rukungiri town. one of the properties of the union/URN photo
Kigezi Cooperative Union is struggling to restore primary farmer’s societies in an attempt to reinvent itself and engage in the coffee business.
Registered in the 1960s, Kigezi co-operative union society progressed into one of the strongest coffee farmers’ cooperative movements in the country.
However, the Cooperative suffered a setback due to the political turmoil that affected the country in the 1980s when National Resistance Army-NRA rebels picked up arms against the then government.
Didas Mugisha, the Board Chairperson Kigezi Co-operative Union, says prior to its collapse, the union comprised over 60 cooperative societies with hundreds of coffee farmers drawn from the Greater Kigezi sub-region.
He says they have now embarked on mobilizing farmers to form societies and supply coffee to the union.
The Union Secretary, Ben Turyahikay, says to achieve their goal they are considering giving out incentives to farms in term of farming inputs and improved coffee varieties to attract them and restore their lost membership.
He explains that they used part of the compensation money from the government to start a farmer’s Savings and Credit Cooperative Society-SACCO that will provide them with affordable credit facilities through their respective primary societies.
The cooperative received Shillings 3billion from the government in July last year for the losses suffered during the liberation war.
Julius Mugarara, the union treasurer, says that they are working around the clock to reawaken all the defunct primary societies as well as persuading them to return to the traditional union to reclaim their influence.