UGANDA: MINISTER LAUNCHES CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY TARGETING SOLUTIONS TO HOUSEHOLD POVERTY

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Minister Amelia Anne Kyambadde inspecting stalls on display

“As a co-operative society, you don’t ask people to give you money. You have to save some money from what you earn and invest profitably. Our role is simply to introduce you to money lending institutions like Micro- Finance groups and banks, conduct trainings, make policies and laws governing co-operative societies, certify your quality products and source markets for your products”

“As a business woman, you must decide which direction you would want to go in your business. Be consistence and concentrate in one product. Be ready to take risks like Dr. Amina did when she decided to come and invest her money here. She didn’t have a relative here but now she is comfortably settled among you. Don’t associate with people who would like to pull you down. You are the power to change your community, country, Africa and the world”

AMURU-UGANDA:Uganda’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives , Ms. Amelia Kyambadde, has launched Atiak Sugar Plantation Out-growers’ Co-operative Society which aims at finding lasting solutions to household poverty among the vulnerable members of the community.

“As a co-operative society, you don’t ask people to give you money. You have to save some money from what you earn and invest profitably. Our role is simply to introduce you to money lending institutions like Micro- Finance groups and banks, conduct trainings, make policies and laws governing co-operative societies, certify your quality products and source markets for your products”, says the minister.

Minister Amelia made these remarks to members of the society drawn from the eight districts of Acholi sub-region including neighboring Adjumani district in West Nile sub-region on Thursday, May 16, 2019 at Atiak Township, Amuru district, some 1:30 hour’s drive from Gulu City along the Greater North Road.

The brain behind Atiak Sugar Plantation is Dr. Amina Hersi, a Kenyan national of Somali origin, who, through her company- Horyal Investment Holding Company Limited, came and leased land from a family in Atiak sub-county, Amuru district, in 2014 where she has established herself.

She has been busy establishing sugarcane out-grower schemes with farmers in neighboring districts of Lamwo and Adjumani, making it the biggest sugar project in Uganda. She has since moved to the entire sub-region where she is not promoting sugar cane growing alone, but has brought on board other crops like sesame (sim-sim), soya beans, maize, upland rice, groundnuts, honey, chai seeds, among other crops. She does this under the theme; “Wealthy Women, Wealthy Community, Wealthy Nation”.

She has partnered with government of Uganda through the revived Uganda Development Corporation (UDC), where government has 34% shares and are currently working together to establish the factory, which is expected to start production before the year ends.

Minister Amelia says sugar is a key industry in Africa, especially in East Africa where Uganda alone produced 240000 metric tons of sugar in 2008 and that this figure will increase to about 435000 metric tons per year in 2019 once Atiak Sugar factory begins production.

“As a business woman, you must decide which direction you would want to go in your business. Be consistence and concentrate in one product. Be ready to take risks like Dr. Amina did when she decided to come and invest her money here. She didn’t have a relative here but now she is comfortably settled among you. Don’t associate with people who would like to pull you down. You are the power to change your community, country, Africa and the world”, counsels the Minister.

The minister thanked the management of a government program, Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) for supporting the out-growers with UGX 24 billion shillings (about US$ 6.35 million) for inputs, bush-clearing for opening more land and which enabled the out-growers to plough 23,000 hectares of land.

“I want to thank you (OWC) for the role you are playing in transforming the lives of the local community. I want to urge you (out-growers) to mobilize more members. The bigger the group the better is market opportunity, now that you want to transform yourself into the first Women’s Co-operative Union” concludes Minister Amelia.

Dr. Amina thanked UDC for trusting her with money for the kind of investment they injected in Atiak Sugar Factory and predicted that women, if properly mobilized, can transform Uganda and in turn make the region a true food basket of Africa.

The Speaker of Amuru district local government, Mr. Dennis Rom appealed to the women to guard against domestic violence in their homes as most men tend to be abusive in their marriages when their wives are empowered economically, politically and socially.

The chairperson of Atiak Sugar Plantation Out-growers, Ms. Santa Joyce Laker says the factory is expected to produce 1600 metric tons of crushed cane per day once it starts production around mid-year. She says the society has 300 mostly vulnerable women out of a total of 470 members in the out-grower scheme.

 

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