Plant Ownership & Legal Structure
Given the social-economic status of farmers in our region, our plant will be required to raise support and provide all our target farmers with initial inputs (seed etc), at no charge, for at least the first 3 – 4 years of operation. Each beginning farmer will be supported for 1–4 planting seasons, depending on the type of crop they are growing.
This is both intended to ensure that a) even those farmers who have no capacity to secure the needed inputs on their own can participate equally, and b) all our farmers are growing the right species, lest their produce is rejected at harvest. Even after the first 3-4 years of operation, we will still have new farmers who need to be supported.
If you are wondering why our plant will be required to provide our target farmers with inputs like seed, yet the primary challenge we are addressing is the absence of reliable markets for these farmers’ produce, or if you are asking why such inputs will be provided to these farmers at no charge, please see our planned Business Model.
Because raising money for farmer support shall be very integral to our work, local farmers will only have a 20% ownership in our plant, and this only take effect from Year 5 of operation. The other 80% shall be used to support the plant’s operations.
How community ownership will be implemented:
Once this plant becomes operational, all the farmers participating in our work will form a number of smaller/regional co-operatives in each catchment area, and one main/umbrella co-operative that will represent all the regional co-operatives.
Note: individual farmers will be free to supply their produce directly to the plant, without going through the respective co-operative to which they belong, but the main purpose of the co-operatives will be to enable our program farmers share ideas on best practices, and to give them a unified voice in their engagement with our plant.
The 20% farmer ownership in our plant will also reach local farmers through their umbrella and/or regional cooperatives, where they can then decide what to do with it.
The UCF is itself a nonprofit social enterprise.
Since our intended plant will be largely owned by the UCF, and since the main remit of this plant shall be to provide both material support and market linkages to enable rural poor stallholder farmers in our region escape extreme poverty, this plant shall be a) designated as a property of the UCF, rather than an independent entity of its own, and b) registered as a B-Corp (or its equivalence in Uganda).
The UCF is located on 12 acres in Namisita, a village in Kamuli, in eastern Uganda. That is where our intended plant shall also be physically located. If deemed necessary, e.g. for accessibility reasons, part of this plant (such as the site where we will raise saplings that will be given out to our farmers) may be moved to a separate location.