Members of the food security cluster from the rwenzori region had a learning event to share on the marketing system that is farmer owned to support their household income and improve on the food security. The event involved trip to Bundibugyo Cocoa farmers association (BCFA) in Bundibugyo and Busaiga cooperative SACCO (BCA) in Kichwamba sub county Kabarole.
Learning event focusing on collective marketing and farmers owned credit system( financial services).
The learning event was a result of stakeholders meeting early in the year that came up with two needs that are cutting across all the farmers i.e. saving and Credit. In other words how can we emphasis the farmers’ cohesion towards SAVING and CREDIT to improve farmer participation in agriculture.
The learning objectives were; Share experience of the case studies and how the farmers have managed to transformed their groups more, How women have been involved in management, leadership and marketing in the organization, Look at the applicability of the different model to improve the love for farming and agriculture in particular.
The study focused on Busaiga Sacco (BSA) and Bundibungyo Cocoa farmers association (BCA); Busaiga is a Sacco that begun in 1992 by a group of Waragi sellers. They used to give each 10 liter jerrican. It’s a farmer owned Sacco and the beneficiary are the farmers. Members increased as the farmers realized the benefits. They were able to transform from giving out Waragi to money. In 2003 the group was registered as cooperative.
There 1020 members in the Sacco. Recruitment in the Sacco depends on the members (a member can recommend another person to join the Sacco. There is compulsory saving the current portfolio stands at 145 million at the head office and 55 million at the branch office. Loan portfolio stand at 111millions. At least 5 million is maintained on daily basis as liquid cash. Credit given out range from 300000 to 7 million for a group or individual. Credit is given to members and members can guarantee each other from the different groups.
BCA, is located in Mataisa village in bundibugyo district. It’s operating in 5 sub counties. The idea originated from the university dissertation of Methodius in 2008 as a student of BA Agricultural extension. He was answering the questions “how can cocoa farmers benefit from the production if this product”.the group is led by Mr.Methodias
He identified 15 farmers in the community from who he developed his marketing model that has become a boast to the farmers. He realized that farmers are being exploited a lot and its his time the farmers to determine the market price or reach the market by themselves. The situation was thus;
The marketing association have benefited members in ways like; Improved income of the farmers, Improved saving culture, There is constant and direct price received by the farmers, There an organized way of farmes to reap from there labour,More household farmers have joined the marketing association, Members can easily pay fees for their children.
What makes the groups a success? A group(s) of farmers working on the same enterprise and common characteristics, Design of the marketing plan, The leadership that is farmer oriented, Immediate results realized in terms of income, The social inclusion factor and elements that have been incorporated in the marketing group,Onspot accountability of all the finances of the association.
Saving and credit in the groups: There is compulsory saving of all the group members. Each member saves at least 100 shillings on every kilogram sold. However it can be improved according the group’s members wishes after a consensus. Support loan advance to farmers to buy cocoa or matooke. Every member has an account with the association. There are 17 groups each with 30-50 members. There are fixed saving and current saving.
Achievements of the marketing association: A plots have already secured to have permanent offices and a ware house constructed, the farmers voices have easily been amplified through the different channels, and Associations is moving towards being registered as a cooperative union. Farmers can now determine the prices of their produce direct from the buyers.