SNV supported cooperative unions are growing into food processing industries.
Two SNV supported Cooperative unions, Utta Wayu and Raya Wakena Farmers’ Cooperative Unions, have inaugurated their wheat flour factories in the presence of His Excellency Abadula Gemeda - Speaker of the House of Peoples' Representatives of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Lemma Megerssa - President of Oromia National Reginal State and Dr. Eyasu Abreha - State Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources of Ethiopia.
Utta Wayu FCU established in 2005 with an initial capital of ETB 172,000 and membership capacity of 7,534 (898 females) has increased both its capital and membership base considerably. Its capital grew to ETB 75 million and currently serves 63,507 members of which 11,118 are women. Raya Wakena Farmers’ Cooperative Unions has also similar success story. In 2003 the union became a legal entity with a capital of ETB 155,000 and an initial membership base of 3,684 including 302 women. After 14 years, its financial capacity reached ETB 47 Million while the number of its members increase to 31,334. The number of women members has also reached 5114.
SNV Ethiopia and Agriterra through their partnership project Cooperative for Change (C4C) contributed a lot in transforming the Unions into a business entities. C4C, since 2012, has provided series of capacity enhancement support to improve the unions’ service delivery, output marketing, financial management and business development.
This has helped these unions to widen their scope of service provision and engagement. Beginning their business engagement in unprocessed wheat business the unions accelerated their respective journey to value addition. The process has necessitated strong financial capacity. The Unions have mobilised capital from their members to establish a share company.
“If you serve cooperative member smallholder farmers with commitment, nothing will hinder you from making your dream a reality” said Mohammed Yosuf, Union Manager.
Once the unions secured the necessary capital, the members started to face the challenge of investment. For example, Raya wakena wheat flour factory was not able to engage in flour production due to shortage of electric power. The regional government took decisive measure investing more than ETB 10 million to supply the factory with electric power from the nearby power station.
“We have learned from Utta Wayu and Raya Wakena Farmers’ Cooperative Unions the impact such kind of institutions to improve the livelihoods of our people. These unions should build the capacity of other unions to contribute to the transformation of unions into food processing industries” said H.E. Lemma Megerssa.
Since 2017 these unions have promoted to institutions responsible to transfer knowledge and build the capacity of primary cooperatives. SNV believes their engagement in value addition will encourage member farmers to increase the volume and quality of their wheat, create market for their produce, enhance economic benefits and improves member trust and loyalty.
On the event SNV’s effort has gained recognition. Raya wakena union awarded Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of the “overall support and enhancement of the capacity of the union”.