Individual farmers in a small community in Eastern Uganda made little profit, but together in a cooperative, farmers were empowered to improve farming techniques and market trades. “It is very exciting to see how our Depot Committee is emerging to be a pillar of hope for the farmers in a very short time…,” said Charles Mapulo, manager, Byamba Depot Committee. The farmers of this community started as Producer Organizers (POs), but then together they developed Depot Committees (DC) and as a result, members of the Coop increased crop volumes and access to profitable markets.

To empower the farmers, USAID provided funding for the Agricultural Production Enhancement Project to assist with implementing development strategies for the cooperative. After adopting these approaches, farmers came together to increase business for farm production. As a result, many new developments and lives were transformed because of the new implementations. With the 65 percent increase in crops marketed with USAID’s assistance,* families’ basic needs were being met and members could now afford to build better homes, send their children to private schools and buy land for farming. In Uganda these farming cooperatives continue to transform lives and change communities one step at a time.

With USAID’s Cooperative Development Program many developing cooperatives continue to advance in various ways to create sustainable economies while building supportive communities.

* John Siodlarz, NCBA CLUSA International