Why Bukonzo Cooperative Society May Save Africa’s Agriculture

41st Uganda Cup final

Saturday 9th June 2015

KCC FC vs SC Villa

Kyamatte Sports Ground  Ntungamo

Fee: Stands- 10, pilule 000 VIP-20, 000

The 41st edition of the Uganda cup will climax with a mouthwatering ‘Kampala derby’ clash pitting old foes, Kampala city council FC and SC villa.

Despite yesterday’s hitch where KCCA’s were involved in an accident, the players are reported in good health and the final will proceed as slated on Saturday 6th June in Kyamate sports ground in Ntungamo.

As the old saying dictates that when the going gets tough, only the strong ones will survive as it is the case here, 64 teams started the journey for a slot in next year’s CAF Confederation cup but only two are left to tussle out for the champion.


Each teams has been involved in six games up to this stage even though Villa has physically played five following Busia United’s failure to turn up for the round of 32 clash. We look briefly at both teams journey as part of the countdown to the big event.

Both teams have faced two top tier teams in three matches but it is KCC fc that has virtually had a tougher campaign facing the defending champion, URA FC away and also a grueling test from lower division Kyambogo fc who were labeled the tournament’s giant killers after bringing down much fancied sides at the fortress in Kyambogo. Kyambogo is responsible for eliminating League champions Vipers, and newly promoted League debutants The Saints on top of sweeping aside Sadolin Fc.

The 2014 finalists have only had one chance to play in front of their fans, against Lweza Fc, in the last four segments courtesy of a mandatory home-away rule.

Out of the five outings, coach Mubiru’s side has won four in normal time while going an extra mile to post match penalty mark kicks in the round of eight against big-team tormentors, Kyambogo Fc where they won 4-1 after a one all draw courtesy of a Herman Waswa late equalizer.

Waswa has been the most outstanding player for the side scoring the winner against URA and both legs in the semifinals.

Sc Villa on their side only had a real test after the round of 16 against SC Victoria who stretched them until the 120 minutes elapsed and Bul Fc who they struggled to win in both legs in the semifinals.


Both teams come into the final searching for a ninth trophy to try and catch up with record winners, Express Fc who stand high with 10. En route to the finals KCC and Villa struggled beyond the normal time to win their respective matches, while in the last four the teams registered twin results of 1-0 in both reverse fixtures with the goals coming in the first half of their respective games.

The trophy, unlike several years ago, is much hyped save to the fact that both teams lost the league trophy to Vipers and this is the only trophy present. The winner of the cup will represent the country in next year’s Caf confederations cup.

KCC FC Uganda Cup campaign

15th Feb 2015: Seeta United 1-2 KCC FC [R64]

24th Mar 2015: URA FC 1-2 KCC fC [R32]

28th Mar 2015: Ndejje Uni 0-2 KCC FC [R16]

19th April 2015: Kyambogo fc  1(1)-1(4) KCC FC [QF]

26th April 2015: KCC FC 1-0 Lweza FC [SF1]

3rd May 2015: Lweza Fc 1-0 KCC FC [SF2]


SC Villa Uganda cup campaign

12th Feb 2015: Azam Uganda FC 0(2) – 0(4) SC Villa [R64]

10th Mar 2012: SC Villa c-c Busia United FC [R32]

24th May 2015: SC Villa 4-0 Proline FC [R16]

19th April 2015: SC Victoria Uni 0-1 SC Villa AET [QF]

26th April 2015: Bul FC 0-1 SC Villa [SF1]

3rd May 2015:  SC Villa 1-0 Bul Fc [SF2]

9th June 2015: KCCA FC vs SC Villa [final]

By Morrison Rwakakamba

Most of Africa is democratized – when measured on singular account of conducting consistent and periodic elections.

This is certainly only one of the many tenets of democracy but contextually sufficient in some countries if we avoid blueprint determinism.

Political parties and prospective candidates have over the years flagged agriculture sector as the backbone of the economy. It is a consistent campaign issue. In May 2015, capsule the African Development Bank elected Nigeria’s Minister of agriculture and Rural Development, site Akinwumi A. Adesina as Bank’s 8th President.

He campaigned as a farmer’s vanguard who should be trusted. At the national level, patient the political and policy magniloquence declaring agriculture as “the engine of growth” has been consistent in political speeches and national policy instruments of many countries.

At the continental level, the adoption of the Lagos Plan of Action in 1980 declaring major commitment to address post-harvest losses, food security, food and forest production, as well as research is a true testament of the historical nature and centrality of agriculture.

At the global level, the centrality of agriculture in the socio-economic transformation of African economies has dominated global policy discourse right from the time of introduction of the Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) at the beginning of the 1980s to the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and beyond.

There are many reasons why agriculture is a big stage agenda. First, over 65% of people in Africa depend on agriculture as the core form of livelihood.  Agriculture contributes 60 percent Africa’s total export earnings.

Second, multitudes of these farmer households are a cache of millions of ballots that carry Africa’s political officialdom into office. The other reason is that there are governments and advocates that are clear on potential of agriculture to transform and carry millions out of poverty.

Questions have remained unanswered, e.g.; Why are good intentions not translating into priority public policy legislations and actions needed to boost agriculture performance?

Even when civil society advocates talk about paltry agriculture budgets- they are not concrete on what budget directly or indirectly supports agriculture.

In Uganda, the officialdom keeps a superior and clever argument that looks at agriculture financing through the national budget holistically.

Civil society organizations are helpless and outmanoeuvred on this issue. For example, financing healthcare benefits agriculture by ensuring flow of healthy workforce in agriculture sector. How will civil society and farmer organizations respond to this?

Uganda and African civil society need to invest in deliberate research that generates concrete financing mechanism proposals through national budgets that target nerve centers of agriculture.

Over the years, I have come to strongly believe that failure of agriculture across the continent is not for lack of trying, the absence of policy or even the lack of funding. On the contrary, the tragedy that African agriculture is today is a product of governance failure and lack of effective leadership at continental, regional, national and sub-national levels. Governance failure explains why African countries have been unable to adopt interventions that accurately respond to the failures in the agriculture sector.

Absence of effective political leadership explains the prevalence of unmet commitments and unfulfilled promises. There is considerable amount of energy, time and resources spent in developing policies and strategies that are rarely implemented.

For post conflict countries that have over the years spent most of resources responding to existential threats, they may be excused for now- but not for long. For Uganda, flagshiping of security and infrastructure is delivering but time has arrived to also flagship agriculture as a crucial pathway to wealth creation, opportunity, prosperity and sustainable national security.

The current Africa agricultural sector leadership crisis can only be cured through rebalancing, by inducing millions of farmers and their organizations’ with capacity to shake the tree and let grasshoppers loose for wider public to pick and benefit.

Beyond the cliché’ of political leaders and grand plans that gravitate around agriculture infrastructure and a package of indirect and direct incentives, agriculture needs a prominent singular intervention – Voice.

Farmers in most of Africa have been treated as clients of governments’ ‘helping hand’ packaged as inputs widely distributed freely like the prominent case of Malawi during the reign of Bingu wa Mutharika.

Sometimes, timing of these inputs coincides with elections, referenda etc. As a consequence, millions of farmers have positioned themselves as recipients of gifts and not actors in the economy and guarantors of food security- a prerequisite of national /continental security.

They look forward to next freebies – and they continue to reward vendors of these inputs handsomely – voting them into office term after term. They have relegated their agency. They are not effectively occupying their space at public negotiation table.

They look at their situation through prism of demand and supply and are less bothered about governance conditions and environment that in reality influences how they fail or how they succeed.


In Africa, tools to enhance voice are falling in.  For example Uganda, with a population of 35 million; 17 million are connected to mobile phones, 7 million with daily access to internet. There are also 185 radio stations that broadcast in different local languages. What is urgent and necessary is that individual farmers and collectives harness these apparent platforms to influence agriculture policy and make real change in the sector happen.

Concretely, governments must move from processes to action; and from a disengaged citizenry to an active citizenry that is capable of shaping and influencing the design and implementation of agricultural policies and programmes.

At micro level, this threshold has possibly been achieved by Bukonzo Joint Cooperative Society. This Cooperative is a classic case of citizen agency. They started on their own, wrote their own legal rules, refused external support until when they were ready. They are growing on their own terms and deeply succeeding.

Bukonzo cooperative is owned by its shareholders – 85 percent women -who currently operate 3,400 small farms in the Rwenzori Mountains region of western Uganda, where they raise high-quality, organically grown, hand-picked coffee.

Bukonzo Joint is headquartered in Kyarumba town, Kasese district. Its operations include marketing its farmers’ organic coffee and other agricultural products. At this level, in the mountains, they have showed leadership. There is possibly a lot World and especially Africa can learn from them.

Morrison Rwakakamba is HIID merit scholar of the Edward S. Mason Program in Public Policy Management at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

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