A group of 300 small holder farmers in Gulu district is stuck with a rice huller despite the bumper harvest due to lack of electricity.
It is now three months since Latyeng Farmer Group in Laliya Sub County, about 10 Kilometers North of Gulu Town received the rice huller under the Operation Wealth Creation – OWC program to process their harvest for value addition.
Ben Ochan, the Chairperson of Latyeng Farmers Group, the umbrella organization for the farmer's group, says power distributors UMEME requires about Shillings 40 million to procure a transformer to connect the rice huller.
//Cue in: "We got the machine…
Cue out: "…machine start running"//
Ochan says the rice huller is too big to be driven on a generator at a critical time when the members want to mill their rice produce. The group was trained by the Integrated Seed Production Scheme to produce rice seeds for farmers in the area.
Ochan says the group produced 135 acres of Namse Rice seeds, which they supplied to commercial farmers in the region. Vicky Ochan, the vice chairperson of the group says members have been forced to mill their rice from millers charging them exorbitant prices in Gulu Town.
She says the group intends to pack and label the Rice before selling it. World Bank has plans of developing farmer cooperatives in Northern Uganda to enable them tap into the unique agribusiness markets in the region. Anthony Thompson, the World Bank Country Manager says the Bank is developing projects aimed at creating better agribusiness opportunities for the farmers.
//Cue in: "We are doing some works…
Cue out: "…just producing ordinary rice"//
According to the World Bank, investing in agriculture provides huge potential for expediting national economic growth and the ambitious journey to the middle income status.