Ker Kwaro Acholi moves to re-align the agricultural and business sector to cooperative societies

ACHOLI – Ker Kwaro Acholi, the Acholi Cultural Institution is in the final stages of rolling out a new cooperative society which seeks to organize and re-align the agricultural and business sector in Acholi sub-region.

In the proposal dubbed “Ker Kwaro Acholi Cooperative Society,” the cultural institution will bring together all the other smaller cooperative societies especially farming groups and other businesses in Acholi sub-region.

David Amone, the Minister for Production and Investment at Ker Kwaro Acholi says, the major focus of the new society is to unite, strategize and give focus and direction to the farmers and business communities in order to eliminate conflicts in business as well as boost bargaining capacities of the farmers.

Amone says, whereas Acholi sub-region is blessed with vast fertile land, almost 90% of the people are practicing agriculture. Less than 50% have grown to succeed in the sector majorly due to lack of focus and market knowledge and strategy.

“In this cooperative society, we will bring together all the farmers in their various smaller societies, train them, provide them with market knowledge and instill the spirit of unity and farming as a business, which should be able to change production,” Amone said.

Amone observed that most businesses in the Acholi sub-region seem to be competing and fighting amongst themselves instead of uniting and supporting each other in order to grow as a region like other areas have grown.

“When we see the current businesses in Acholi sub-region, there’s a lot of unnecessary competition, fighting among our own children who are actually brothers and sisters. We want to bring them together, help them have a holistic approach to the various business opportunities the region has,” said Amone.

“This cooperative society will give a big boost to the socio-economic transformation that the region has been undergoing though at a slow pace,” Amone notes.

Rwot Otinga Otto, the Deputy Paramount Chief of Acholi Cultural Institution says, they want to bridge the gap between private sector led and lower local economic development which has seen disparities in growth.

Otinga, who is also the clan Chief of Lamogi says, the major reason why the Acholi sub-region was recently ranked the poorest despite the availability of vast fertile land is that Acholi farmers are not focused and seemingly don’t know what they want and where they want to go.

“You can have your land or business but what do you want or where do you want to be? You find that most times our people upon starting business and breaking even, they get relaxed and now start to only sustain their business and not continue to further their growth. How then can we develop if we have such mentalities among the business community?” Otinga wondered.

Anthony Akol, the Chairperson of the Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) agrees with the concept but worries that there are too many cooperative societies coming up and this might affect their focus.

“Because now, we have the Parish Development Model (PDM), and several other cooperative societies in the region, having another one will likely jeopardize the focus and development intended beneficiaries,” Akol worries.

“We need to instead organize our already existing cooperative societies in order to achieve the main focus and vision of the new cooperative society that the cultural institution wants to rollout,”Akol proposes.

Denis Onguti, a businessman in Gulu City says, the already established and functional societies like that of the business community should instead be retooled on withering the threat being brought about by the foreign investors in the region.

“We have very many foreign businesses cropping up in the region and for us as business people, we need to be supported to compete so that we can as well develop our region,” Onguti appeals.

Acholi sub-region currently has hundreds of cooperative societies which are functional and these include;the Acholi East and West Cooperative Union, Kilak Cooperative Society, among others. Most of the societies majorly focus on agricultural production.

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