It is widely believed that capitalism is the #1 cause of all the evil, and all the human suffering there is on earth. People have even likened it to an economic dictatorship, designed only to benefit a few, while the rest of the populace are living in tatters.
As people whose only goal is to end extreme poverty, and as people who hereditarily belong to a very impoverished community, we don’t want capitalism anywhere in our work. For this reason, our intended plant shall be 80% owned by ALL the rural poor smallholder farmers who will be growing the crops that this plant will be working on.
But that ownership will only take effect from Year 3 of operation, and will only take effect gradually, increasing by 20% every year, for the reasons described below.
Given the social-economic status of farmers in our region, our plant will be required to provide all our target farmers with initial inputs (grain seed, fruit saplings etc), all free of charge, for the first 3 – 4 years of operation. Each beginning farmer shall be supported for 1 – 4 planting seasons, depending on the type of crop they’re 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. Moreover, even after the first 3-4 years of operation, we will still have new farmers needing support.
So, the purpose of increasing the local farmers’ ownership for this plant gradually, is to allow the plant itself to have the means to provide these farmers with the support that they need to establish their fields, and to take part in the plant’s work smoothly.
a). In the first two years of operation, this plant shall be 100% owned by the UCF.
b). In Year 3, this plant shall be owned 20% by local farmers, and 80% by the UCF.
c). In Year 4, this plant shall be owned 40% by local farmers, and 60% by the UCF.
d). In Year 5, this plant shall be owned 60% by local farmers, and 40% by the UCF.
e). In Year 6, this plant shall be owned 80% by local farmers, and 20% by the UCF.
Once local farmers reach 80%, the remaining 20% will be permanently owned by the UCF, as a way of sustaining our overall work with rural poor farmers in our region.
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 80% 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. Our intended plant shall be primarily registered as an independent business entity, but will be designated as a property of the UCF, owned 80% by rural farmers in Kamuli & Buyende, and 20% by the UCF (from Year 6 onward).
Also, as a way of staying on course with our vision, the UCF shall be the plant’s main administrative lead, with local farmers’ representatives forming part of the lead team.
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 located. If deemed necessary, e.g. for accessibility reasons, part (or all) of this plant may be moved to a nearby location.