Friday, June 28, 2019

















1.0 Background 

Today, Uganda is pleased to l join the rest of the world to commemorate the 25th UN Day of Cooperatives/ 97th ICA International Cooperative Day on 6th July, 2019.  The International Co-operative Day is an annual celebration of the cooperative movement observed on the first Saturday of July every year. This year’s theme is “Cooperatives for Decent Work”. This theme highlights the contribution of Cooperatives to the creation of jobs and employment opportunities for their members. 


The commemoration of this day is intended to increase awareness and appreciate the role played by cooperatives in human development and social-economic transformation. 


2.0 Activities to commemorate the International Cooperative Day, 2019

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, in collaboration with the cooperative movement, development partners, and civil society organizations and other stakeholders have organized a series of activities as part of the national celebrations.

The national venue for the celebrations for this year will be Wakiso District headquarters grounds. The function will be jointly hosted by Walimu SACCO Union Limited and Cooperative Insurance Company (CIC) Africa.


The National celebrations will be preceded by a number of activities will be undertaken as outlined below:

Date Activity Venue 




Thursday, June 27th  2019Press Briefing at Media Centre on the International Cooperative Day. This will also be a launch of the Cooperative Week






Friday, 28th June 2019Countrywide National prayers highlighting this year theme. 


Prayers with Muslims Community CountrywideAll mosques 

Saturday, 29th June 2019Prayers with Seventh Day Adventists CountrywideAll churches 

Sunday, 30th June 2019Prayers with Christians CountrywideAll churches 

3.Monday, 1st July 2019Cleaning of urban markets countrywideNakawa 

4Tuesday, 2nd July 2019Tree PlantingGomba 

5.Wednesday ,July 3 2019Blood Donation12 regional Uganda Blood Transfusion Service Centres 

6.Thursday, 4th July 2019Medical CampWakiso District Headquarters 

7.Friday, 5th July 2019National Cooperative Symposium and beginning of exhibitions Wakiso 


8.Saturday, July 6th 2019International Cooperative Day Celebrations Wakiso District Headquarters grounds 


3.0 Status of cooperatives in Uganda 


The cooperative movement in this country is diversified. There are cooperatives in almost all sectors of the economy. For example Cooperatives are involved in agricultural marketing, agro processing, value addition, housing, transport, dairy, energy, fishing, livestock, insurance and financial services to mention but a few. Details are as shown in the table below:





2Agricultural Marketing8,974





7Fishing 76

8Area Cooperative Enterprises114





Source: Registrar of Cooperatives 


Given the number and complexity of cooperative enterprises and their contribution to economic wellbeing especially of the low income earners, there is need for deliberate government support to the cooperative movement to bolster their operations. 

Cooperatives have the potential of increasing production, productivity and value addition, and therefore critical for transformation of Uganda to a middle income status. 


4.0 Contribution of cooperatives to attainment of the goals of the National Development Plan

There is already much evidence of cooperatives in action to promote equity and inclusion. Producer and marketing cooperatives, for example, have enabled their members to secure livelihoods, create decent jobs and to access markets. At the same time, cooperatives have allowed members to preserve traditional knowledge and strengthen environmental sustainability, while advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment.


Agro processing and post-harvest handling 

There are 19,718 cooperatives   of which 8,974 are involved in agricultural, marketing, bulking, agro processing, value addition and input supply. Examples include: 

oMasaka Cooperative Union Ltd- dealing in coffee processing and export

oBugisu Cooperative Union Ltd- involved in coffee processing and export

oKakumiro Cooperative Union Ltd –maize processing 

oWamala Cooperative Union Ltd- cotton ginning and cooking oil refinery 

oBanyankole Kweterana Cooperative Union  (Coffee)

oUganda Coffee Processors Cooperative (Coffee)

oBugisu Cooperative Union (Coffee)

oWest Acholi Cooperative Union (Cotton)


There are also 60 Area Cooperative Enterprises involved in the production, processing and marketing of honey, fruits, mushrooms and other horticultural products.


Increasing accessibility to financial services 

There are over 5,000 cooperatives offering financial services especially in the rural areas. This has resulted in improvements in mobilization of domestic savings and investment.  It has reduced financial exclusion by increasing access to financial services. Include estimated membership, savings and loan portfolio. 

Other achievements

Other achievements include:

-Market vendors and transport operators have been mobilized to form cooperatives so as to manage and develop the economic infrastructure where they operate. Taxi and bus drivers/ stakeholders have formed transport cooperative to manage taxi and bus parks; market vendors have formed cooperatives to develop markets etc.

-Communities have formed energy cooperatives and some of them secured contracts to manage the distribution of prepaid electricity. Examples include Pader Abim Multipurpose Energy cooperative Society Ltd, Bundibugyo Energy Cooperative Society Limited and Kyenjojo Rural Energy Cooperative. Society Ltd and many more are coming up. 

-Through the Uganda Housing Cooperative union, housing cooperatives have been formed.  Communities are now able to access quality and affordable building materials and train members in appropriate building technologies. A few of these cooperatives have already acquired land and they are planning construction. 

-Two hundred and seventy six (276) Dairy Cooperatives with a membership of over 32,600 are involved in the collection, transportation, storage and processing of milk. They are also involved in the provision of veterinary drugs, pesticides, animal feeds and extension services.  Uganda Crane Creameries Cooperative Union is in the process of constructing a milk processing plant in Mbarara. The Union also has plans to strengthen the capacity of member cooperatives in strategic areas such as cold storage and transportation. 

-Communities have been mobilized to form Health cooperatives. So far 8 health cooperatives have been registered.

-These include 

•Arch Diocese of Mbarara Health Cooperative society limited

•Ankole Diocese Health Cooperative society limited

•Diocese of Kigezi Health Cooperative society limited

•Buhweju Peoples Health Cooperative society limited

•West Ankole Diocese Health Cooperative society limited

•Uganda Health Cooperative society limited

In total 26 care providers are offering health care to the over 30, 000 members through health cooperatives.  The model is being expanded to cover the whole country and so far more than 50 health service providers have been trained in Gulu, Lira, Soroti and Mbale and are ready to enroll member groups.


5.0 Challenges faced by the cooperative movement 

Much as there has been good progress over the years, there is still a long way to go before cooperatives’ potential is fully tapped.  Some of the challenges limiting the full potential of cooperatives include:

-Inadequate knowledge and skills by their members and leaders. 

Uganda Cooperative College, Kigumba (UCCK) that used to provide tailored training programmes for the cooperative movement was placed under the Ministry of Education and Sports. Since it was placed under Education Ministry, it scaled down on tailor made cooperative courses and increased on academic programmes for UACE and UCE leavers. 

-Weak governance and low commitment by some leaders have adversely affect the operations some cooperatives. Cooperative leaders are elected democratically from amongst the members every two years. There is therefore need for continuous training and education to develop their capacity. This has not been possible due to limited funding. 

-Many cooperatives are undercapitalized and lack access to credit. The Cooperative Bank that used to provide credit and working capital to the cooperative movement was liquidated.

-Inadequate storage and value addition facilities. Some of the storage facilities were destroyed during the wars and insurgencies and a number of cooperatives have not been able to replace them due to funding constraints. 

Way forward 


Ladies and gentlemen, in spite of the challenges, cooperatives are making big strides in meeting the economic and socio demands of their members. Through their various business undertaking they are contributing to the provision of goods and services, creation of jobs and employment and in so doing poverty reduction and economic transformation. The government therefore sees cooperatives as vehicles for economic development, democratic economic participation and creation of wealth.


The International Cooperatives Day event is a platform to share practical ideas on how the cooperatives sector can be supported and developed into a force of economic and social inclusion. Government sees cooperatives as vehicles for economic development, democratic economic participation and redistribution of wealth.


Government and its partners are determined to strengthen their cooperation to ensure that challenges and constraints that undermine the growth and sustainability of cooperatives are addressed. We trust in the cooperative movement’s capability to promote production and socio economic development, advance financial inclusion and promote decent work. The government looks forward to continuing its collaboration with the cooperative movement to help ensure that cooperative enterprises find their place as enterprises of the future and motors for social inclusion and sustainable development.


Let us all draw on the strengths of cooperatives as we pool efforts to implement the national development agenda for the common good of our society.




For God and My Country