Uganda: Outdated Laws Failing Cooperatives, Player Says

Kampala — Several cooperative societies are casually managed, explaining why they are not as productive as they ought to be, according to an industry player.

Part of the problem, according to a section of industry players, are the archaic regulation, which must be updated to create a proper regulatory regime.

"Services such as provision of inputs at subsidised cost and readily available extension services among others should be made accessible by all means possible because this is business. However at the moment most cooperatives are still run like social enterprises with low levels of commercialisation," Mr Godfrey Mayambala, the Zirobwe Agalyawamu Agribusiness Training Association centre manager, said last week.

"All this is because of weak governance and management structures in the Cooperative Societies Act, 1991 which most cooperatives still use today," he added, noting that the outdated laws have not helped to commercialise agriculture.

In the 2018/19 Budget Speech Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, noted that commercialisation of agriculture will help to raise household incomes, address the challenge of subsistence, and enhance agricultural productivity, as farmers integrate with agro-manufacturing industries.

However, this, he noted cannot be done in isolation, urging a boost in all sectors that contribute to the agricultural value chain.

Speaking to a team of officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, National Planning Authority, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and Kilimo Trust who were in Luweero, Mr Mayambala said its time for the old laws to be changed and the attitude towards commercialisation of agriculture is enhanced.

Smallholder farmers

The team was in Luweero District to assess the impact of the Regional East Africa Community Trade in Staples, a three-year flagship project that supports smallholder farming.

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