Eight Canadian co-operators are visiting Uganda to learn about CCA’s Integrated Finance and Agricultural Production Initiative (IFAPI) model. CCA and the Uganda Co-operative Alliance have developed an innovative approach to rural development by linking agricultural co-operatives, marketing co-ops and savings and credit co-operatives.

Monday, December 3, 2012

An innovative co-operator

Mr Jenaro Onenboth

“I am proud of this place – there are so many opportunities”,  Mr. Onenboth beams when he talks to Canadian co-operators who visited his farm last week in the village of Erussi in Northern Uganda.   Travelling through the terraced fields at 10,000 feet, the Canadian co-operators who are part of the CCA Study Mission to Uganda were excited to meet the innovative coffee farmer.  Mr. Onenboth farms 5,000 coffee plants on 7 acres – last year he planted 2,000 coffee plants.

Mr. Onenboth was the first Chairperson of the Erussi Rural Producers Organization (RPO) which started in 2006 with 147 members.  In 2012 there are more than 400 members.  Individual farmers decided to form a co-op in 2006 to access services and training on best agricultural practices and enterprise management.  The members of the RPO grow coffee, maize, potatoes, and onions in the highlands of Northern Uganda. 

Through the training he received through the Integrated Finance and Agriculture Production Initiative partnership between the Uganda Co-operative Alliance and the Canadian Co-operative Association, Mr. Onenboth has changed his farming practices, increased his yield by 300% and now produces better coffee.   He has also trained more than 700 farmers (159 women) – 87 of these farmers have increased their income to allow them to build brick houses rather than thatched grass huts .  The RPO also conducts training session on bee keeping.

Award for best micro-entrepreneur
Last year Mr. Onenboth won a bronze award for outstanding micro-entrepreneur – he placed in the top 30 micro-enterprises (out of 1,300) in Uganda which has had a positive impact on the community, and provided local employment .  Some challenges he has encountered include transporting his coffee to market which is extremely difficult as the roads are poor, storage facilities are not available and access to markets outside Uganda and Congo (which he currently sells to). 

His plans in the next two years are to pursue agro-tourism opportunities, receive Fair Trade certification so he can export to North America and provide more training services to members of the Erussi Rural Producer Organizations.   “Through the intervention of UCA and CCA, my family has increased our income, have a better home, paid school fees for my children, improved production techniques and employed 2 people in the agro-input shop in my village”. 

Laurie Tennian
Mr Onenboth's home
Mr Onenboth (r)and UCA field officer George Okechagiw

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