About 3 hours’ drive north of Kampala in Uganda, is Masindi District farmers association (MADFA) a farmer owned organization with over 7,000 members. The organization offers three categories of services to its members, including agricultural extension services, lobbying and advocacy and creating market linkages. As a result of increased growth and membership, MADFA has opened up two new entities including Masindi Seed and Grain Growers, Ltd. (MSSGL) and MADFA Savings and Credits Cooperative. MSSGL provides warehousing, seed cleaning and conditioning as well as milling services to its members whereas the SACCO is responsible for providing credit facilities for the members.
The three entities serve the same clientele base, and yet work in isolation with no coordination among their activities. This results into duplication of roles, ineffectiveness in addressing member’s needs and general operational inefficiency. Gertrude Musaindapo, a CRS Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer, worked with the three entities to improve their efficiency by streamlining their operations, improving coordination and better serve members.
As a result of Gertrude’s assignment; the three entities agreed to form one unifying body – MAFOD (Masindi Associated Farmers’ Organization developers) which is coordinating the activities of the three entities. This is comprised of representatives from each of the three entities and two management staffs. Volunteer Marle Anderson on his assignment with the host in October 2015 trained the host on how to operationalize the unifying body.
‘‘MAFOD will be a unifying/ harmonizing body for the three organizations at the apex and also ensure that each organization operates on its own independently.’’
The committee has set out its mission, vision, objectives and the core values. Due to improved coordination and working relationships MSSGL procured more than 300 Metric tons of grain from MADFA Farmers last season. MADFA SACCO has committed to pay the salaries of MSSGL staffs. The SACCO has also increased the number of loans issued to the farmers through the warehouse where receipts are presented to the SACCO as collateral to obtain loans. Farmers are now bulking collectively with MSSGL and the SACCO advancing 60% cash payments to the farmers to fund their farming activities while their grains are stored in the MSSGL ware house when prices are not good and sold off when prices improve.
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