State Minister for Cooperatives, Friedrick Ngobi Guma has asked Ugandan co-operators to work together with their Kenyan counterparts to find a lasting solution for the low prices for coffee and other agriculture products in Uganda.
Minister Ngobi said that he had received reports indicating that while a bag of 50kg of coffee in Kenya was at US dollars 700, in Uganda, it was only costing US dollars 150, which is discouraging to the farmers in Uganda.
“Since we are already working as a region, heads of cooperatives in Uganda should consult those in Kenya and other countries on how they are keeping the prices of the farmers’ products relatively high,” Ngobi said.
He added that there was need to harmonize products’ prices in all EAC countries so that they can bargain and sell as one big block instead of single countries.
Ngobi was speaking at the annual general meeting of the Cooperative Insurance Corporation Uganda that took place Friday at Grand Imperial Hotel in Kampala.
CIC is a joint venture of CIC Kenya and the Uganda Co-operative Movement with the main aim of offering insurance to co-operators.
The Corporation now has over 200 cooperative groups from across the country who own 49% of the company.
Speaking at the same function, the CIC group chairman Japheth Magomere said that the only way Ugandan farmers would ensure high prices for their products is ensuring high quality and eliminating the middle men who are taking most of the profits.
“We are one as one big body, under the E. African farmers’ federation to train and help farmers on how to improve the quality of their products so that they are able to deal directly with the consumer without selling to a middle man,” Magomere said.
Zipporah Mungai, the managing director CIC Uganda urged more cooperative groups to join the insurance group so that they can work together and prevent the high risks involved with the kind of activities cooperatives do.
“We offer insurance against Fire, Theft and Burglary, Travel Insurance, Motor Comprehensive, Motor commercial plus and many more. And the most important part is that these cooperatives will have shares and decide on how the profits made can be invested,” Mungai said.
CIC offers insurance to or under Group life insurance, Group funeral insurance, Group credit life, microfinance, Ordinary life assurance and many more.
Since it became operational in 2015, CIC Uganda has grown its premium from Shs.54.6million to Shs14.1 billion in 2017.
According to the CEO Uganda Cooperative Alliance, Ivan Asiimwe, the insurance company is a big achievement for the Uganda cooperative movement as they are benefiting twice from the insurance and the profits from the shareholdings.
“This is our company in partnership with our brothers from Kenya, instead of getting insurance from other insurance companies who we have no say or control over, it is good that now we have ours that will help in pushing the cooperative agenda forward,” Asiimwe said.