By Bazio Doreen.

On average, Uganda annually produces 23,000 tons of soya beans according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics census on agriculture. This is partly because over the years many farmers have abandoned their enterprises to start growing soya beans.

With provision of seed capital, from the Development Response to Displacement Impact (DRDIP) through Endrebamvuku East Village Revolving Fund (VRF), Mid Esia Watershed; Nyarima A self-help group is now able tto yield more from soya beans. Nyarima A self-group that started in 2021 has 40 members and is located in Oyuwi Village, Adropi Sub County but their farm is in Itirikwa Sub County. Every Saturday, they save about shs 350,000/= to shs 400,000/=.

According to Adrawa Charles, the group secretary, unlike many other self-help groups in the village revolving fund that save about 200,000/=, they are able to save more because of good yields from their soya beans farm.

“Saving more is possible because group members are paid for offering labor in the farm. But also, we have been making a lot of profits from the soya beans. People are also encouraged to pay because each December we distribute the annual profits amongst members according to their shares. ” Adrawa says as he recounts their yield for the past two years.

In 2021, they planted 10 acres and got 15 sacks. They received shs 6,500,000/= from the VRF and got shs 8,300,000/=. From the net profit of shs 1,800,000/= they purchased 20 chairs for the group, paid back the loan with an interest of shs 195,000/= and saved the remaining. They sell their soya bean at shs 2,000/= per kg. In 2022, they planted 12 acres and got 18 sacks. They received shs 13,000,000/= and got shs 15,600,000/=. From the net profit of shs 2,600,000/=, they had to pay an interest of shs 390,000/=. This year, they borrowed shs 13,000,000/= and planted 12 acres.

Adrawa also observes that this experience has encouraged many of the group members to embrace commercial agriculture and enjoy the positive benefits of acquiring loans.

“Previously, many of us feared to venture into commercial agriculture because we lacked the capital and feared to acquire loans individually but this has now changed.” Adrawa explains.

Indeed, Asienzo Dominica, a treasurer, in Nyarima B self-help group, agrees to this. She says that unlike Nyarima A, their group hasn’t yielded much because they feel that the money given by the VRF should be a grant instead.

“The members in my group haven’t embraced the VRF yet and so we can’t do much. Some of our political leaders have been telling them that government money should be a grant instead of a revolving fund.” Asienzo shares her disappointment.  

Meanwhile, the Nyarima A’s biggest challenge is middle men who want to have commission off the profit they would have made. With the great success achieved, the group is also now looking forward to getting a bigger market and requesting for more than shs 13,000,000/= to increase the profit margin.

DRDIP is a Government Project under the Office of the Prime Minister that provides development and direct income support to vulnerable nationals and refugees within refugee hosting districts in Uganda. The Development Objective of DRDIP is to improve access to basic social services, expand economic opportunities and enhance environmental management in refugee hosting districts.