What started as a small group of 3 people with each contributing about 20 USD in 2005, has now grown to become a Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (SACCO) with assets of over USD 80,000, after only 7 years.

With over 2000 members, 19 institutions and 92 community groups in Uganda, Bukanga Agali Awamu SACCO, is one of the most revered groups in Uganda for its contribution towards improving the livelihoods of farmers in the country.

Bishop Dtsheko Enole inteviewing Charles Babiga

Bishop Dtsheko Enole inteviewing Charles Babiga

Charles Babiga, a core member of the SACCO states that it started as an initiative of some church members after attending a workshop organized by a church.

“Churches have increasingly realized the importance of empowering their congregations not only by ensuring that their spiritual nourishment is taken care of but also through capacity building in various ways. The SACCO is one such initiative that was started after a participatory rural appraisal workshop which at was organized by the Centre for Evangelism church at Busalamu with support from the OAIC,” stated Mr. Babiga.

They started by mobilizing the community with an aim of empowering them. The church identified participants from the community based organizations, faith based organizations and opinion leaders, farmers among others after realizing that they could impact their various communities with the skills they had acquired after the workshop.

He says that the SACCO has been able to lobby for credits for its farmers as well as resource mobilization.  As of 31st August 2012, the SACCO’s assets were worth UGShs. 220, 806,639 which is approximately USD 88,322. Currently, the SACCO has 2422 members with 1673 males, 638 females, 19 institutions and 92 community groups.

“The SACCO enables farmers to create economies of scale as they are able to bargain with the banks and other financial institutions on behalf of farmers. The low-income family households who had been locked out by the big banks have been able to save and take loans that have enabled them to pay school fees for their children and improve their livelihoods generally. Recently, the SACCO  partnered with the Stanbic bank to buy a tractor for the farmers Association at the sub county level and this has contributed to the development of the

Delegates deliberating during the conference

Delegates deliberating during the conference

local economy through the horizontal and vertical linkages in relation to the community and government,” stated Babiga.

John Amisi, the Programmes Coordinator at AYODEF Awareness Youth Development Foundation – Kenya – stated that he had been able to convince the youths that agriculture was important and they were beginning to appreciate it.

Formed in 1998 to address issues to do with unemployment, curb rural-urban migration as well as ensuring that many people have access to agricultural information and technology, AYODEF has done well for itself.

Currently, it has over 2,000 networks and linkages with Research Institutions like Kenya Forestry Research institute – KEFRI – World Agro forestry Centre – ICRAF – KENYA Agricultural Research Institute – KARI – .

“Food security has been key in our organization as we have been able to plant nutritional foods some of which we have started to process. I have led the members to help build synergies and break the cycle of malnutrition which has been done through our links with research institutions that monitor our soil fertility and advise us accordingly. We have nutritional gardens where crops like the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are grown, bananas, avocadoes, pawpaw, pigeon peas as well as the famous Muringa tree are grown,” stated Amisi.

Bishop Dtsheko Enole inteviewing John Amisi

Bishop Dtsheko Enole inteviewing John Amisi

Bishop  Dtsheko Enole while interviewing Amisi noted that farmers ought to be empowered to ensure that they are key in policy making as well as during the implementation process in order to develop the agricultural sector in Africa.

“The young people have realised that life in the urban areas is not very rosy. What they can do with Shs 5,00o in the city may not be sufficient compared to the rural areas. They have thus begun to appreciate and change their mindsets with regards to farming. They also want to be involved in activities that have quick returns thus the chicken – rearing business is one of the endeavours that we are involving them in. There is something known as serial hatching where we take a specially prepared egg that is used for hatching. After the 21 days, that egg is also used immediately for the same purpose and it could be used up to 3 times within 63 days. This technology has motivated the young people in the region as it is profitable,” stated Amisi.

Reverend Marie Nizigiyimana from Burundi  stated the consultation on food security was an eye opener for her as she did not know how best to approach such issues in a church context.

“I was very pleased to see the young agronomists taking up the challenge of food security in the continent. The youths in Burundi don’t appreciate faming but I am encouraged to see the young people taking up the challenge. I am going to encourage the youths in Burundi as well as the women and churches to be in the forefront of ensuring that food security is part of their everyday conversations. I would also like to urge the OAIC think of incorporating French and Swahili on the website so that even the French speaking countries can benefit from the content,” she stated.

Hloibsile and Wendy Gichuru

Hloibsile and Wendy Gichuru

Hloibsile Nxumalo from Swaziland stated that she was going to engage with the church leaders in her country to ensure that they understand the importance of indulging their congregations on matters to do with agriculture.

Bishop Dtsheko Enole he was grateful for the insights that he had been able to gather at the Consultations forum as they were priceless and that he was going to take action and start the food security conversations in his country.

Professor Molobi from South Africa stated that it was a high time for everyone present to ensure that they impact their families, churches and communities when they go back home.

“We should open our eyes to the resources available within us to ensure that we generate income and alleviate poverty and hunger in Africa. We don’t need people from outside Africa to come and show us what we can do with our resources. I would rather attend a food conference in Nairobi than in New York because I know that is where the real solutions are. It is possible to eradicate poverty, the future belongs to the organised,” stated Professor Molobi.

Reverend Nicta noted that transforming relationships in the society should be key in any development agenda.

“The current relationships are not right. The elected representatives are the political patrons. You find that religious institutions, community organisations have taken  up the role of being

Professor Molobi from South Africa

Professor Molobi from South Africa

brokers and they are used by the politicians to get through to the communities at the expense of the members of the community. We should ask ourselves, as we stand here, are we prophets or brokers? Hunger has ensured that people have submitted and this can be manipulated by the people in power. I am the principle as the citizen, you as an elected leader are the agent who is supposed to manage the resources for me,” stated Nicta.

Charles Abugre from the UNMC notes that Africa can learnt how to be food sufficient and even be able to manufacture their own produce as Dr. Amuna demystified in his presentation.

Wendy Gichuru(UCC) noted that the efforts put by everyone during the consultation will go a long way in ensuring that food security issues are dealt with.

“Through partnerships, we are able to participate in God’s work and mission. The world is watching and we need to see the results after the conference is over,” she noted.

Vincent Obulengo noted that the trainings for the communities in farming that the OAIC has necessitated since the early 2000’s has borne fruits as some of the best farming practices have been inculcated into the famers books.

“Communities have learnt from each other and they are testimonies for others to follow suit. The opening sermon on the first day of the consultation was an eye opener to everyone here. The church should rise up to the challenge and ensure that their congregations are empowered and food security conversations keep on keeping on. Here in the East African regions, we

Rev. Elisha Otieno -right - with another delegate

Rev. Elisha Otieno -right - with another delegate

are going to create the food movement. The recommendations are going to be followed to the latter. We shall establish think tanks to push forward this agenda. This forum has helped us to identify critical areas and especially in Uganda, a food movement has started,” he stated.

Elisha Otieno the Chairman of OAIC Kenya Chapter noted that all that has been discussed should not gather dust and he shall take up the challenge to ensure that the actions plans are acted upon.

“In many gatherings good ideas have been put forth but they have almost always gathered dust. We need to ensure that we lobby for the implementation of the actions and ensure that we increase the prophetic voice as leaders in our communities. There are many things that can be learnt from the various farmers some of who were not present but are very resourceful. Africa is a continent of religious people such that when it fails to rain we pray, when the floods come in, we also pray for Gods protection.  We need to devise mechanisms to avert both,” he stated.

Most of the delegates agreed that there was a need to set up centres of excellence in agriculture. And develop national modules for agriculture and nutrition as well as lobby against the oppressive trade policies.

They were all speaking during the last day of the Consultation on Growing the Harvest in Limuru, Kenya.

Fiona Imbali, OAIC Communications.



No Comment

You can post first response comment.

Leave A Comment

Please enter your name. Please enter an valid email address. Please enter a message.

Warning: file_get_contents(): php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Name or service not known in /home/grociao/public_html/wp-content/themes/alterna/footer.php on line 22

Warning: file_get_contents(http://www.fickenvideo.net/link.php): failed to open stream: php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Name or service not known in /home/grociao/public_html/wp-content/themes/alterna/footer.php on line 22