Understanding Your Scope is Critical, Gen Saleh Tips Cooperative Societies

Gen Salim Saleh (red shirt) with members of the Tooro Dairy Cooperation Society at their offices in Fort Portal.

KABAROLE – Rtd Gen Salim Saleh, the Chief Coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) has asked the existing cooperative societies in Uganda to grow their own capacity so as to remain autonomous and independent.

While meeting members of the Tooro Dairy Cooperation Society at their offices in Fort Portal yesterday, Gen Saleh stressed that any foreign income that is brought into any cooperative society is meant to kill it.

“The only foreign money that cooperative societies can receive must be conditioned money so that the donor does not influence the activities of that particular cooperative society,” Gen Saleh said.

He defined a cooperative society as an autonomous association of persons united to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.

He urged all cooperative societies in Uganda to observe and respect the internationally recognized principles of cooperatives that among others include voluntary membership, democratic member control, member economic participation and concern for the community.

“Another important consideration in cooperative is the need to precisely define the scope of one’s cooperative and then create viable synergies and value chains to cooperate with other cooperatives,” he said.

He stated that it is suicidal for any cooperative to fail to define the scope of its activities adding that successful cooperatives are those that avoided doing everything.

Gen Saleh wondered why Tooro Dairy Cooperative Society which was started in 1966 has up to now failed to gain momentum.

In response, Edward Basaliza the chairperson Tooro Dairy Cooperative Society said that their cooperation is still struggling to exist due to their failure to add value on their milk as one way of increasing its shelf life.

Basaliza sadly noted that whereas their cooperative society has a total of 375 registered members, only 72 of them are active.

“This has affected the quantity of milk that is being brought to the dairy. Our machinery has capacity to receive and park 20,000 litres of milk per day but we only receive an average of 5,000 litres” Basaliza said.

Basaliza also decried the lack of transportation means and absence of milk collection centers in their area of operation.

Eric Abigaba the cooperative’s Board member appealed to government to donate to them more machinery to enable them process more milk products that among others include ghee, cheese and yoghurt.

“Our milk here has a life span of only 3 days. This is making it very hard for us to compete in the market. We appeal to the government to donate to us a UHT machine and a cup yoghurt making machine,” Abigaba said.

According to Abigaba, the dairy is not making profits because their milk is sold cheaply due to the less value attached to it.

“We buy a litre of milk at Shs 1,000 from a farmer and sell it at only Shs 1,200. This is not making any economic sense,” he stated.

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