The Chief Executive Officer of Wazalendo Savings and Credit Cooperative Society Limited (WSACCO) Col Joseph Freddy Onata recently led the SACCO’s Monitoring and Evaluation team to visit Gen Kale Kayihura’s Katebe Business Farm.
The farm is located in Kasagama, Lyatonde District.
It has Ankole and Friesian cattle, banana and gonja plantation, and engages in goat rearing and apiary.
It also has value addition projects like projects such as yoghurt production, alkaline water production, production of crisps from Gonja and milling of banana flour.
The former Inspector General of Police Gen Kale Kayihura welcomed and told the monitoring and evaluation team that the farm focuses on value addition.
He said: “Nothing is produced from the farm and sold in its raw form.”
He noted that the farm now partners with other small farms in order to meet the excess demand for inputs.
Gen Kayihura asked WSACCO to Mobilize organized groups and support them to engage in production and value addition, noting that this will improve their welfare and thus contribute to social economic transformation.
He emphasized the benefits of organizing small farmers for mass production and value addition, adding that there’s power in integration and teamwork.
He, however, decried the cost of capital to support agro industrialization due to high lending rates from commercial banks, saying this is the point where WSACCO comes in with low interest loans to uplift the welfare of soldiers.
Gen Kayihura applauded the President and Commander in Chief of the UPDF H.E Gen Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and the late Gen Aronda Nyakairima (RIP) for spearheading the establishment of WSACCO.
He also lauded the current UPDF and WSACCO leadership for continuing with the Vision and Mission of the SACCO, that is provide members with cheap to loans during and after service so that they can improve their welfare. “As one of the founders and the first Chairman Board of Directors Wazalendo SACCO, am proud to inform you that this project is very necessary in helping the Army leadership to address the welfare of its personnel while at work and at their homes,” he mentioned.
He expressed his gratitude to the UPDF leadership for ensuring that the project remains a success. “I am a very proud and active member of WSACCO. I am happy to see that our efforts yielded good results that we enjoy today. The project has not only helped the low-ranking soldiers but even Generals like me have benefited,” he observed.
From the members point of view, I can comfortably say that WSACCO’s services are affordable and convenient, added Gen Kayihura on 14th December 2022. “I do not see any reason as to why I should leave my own SACCO to get credit from commercial banks,” he stressed.
The General also emphasized the need for Public Private Partnership to support farmers and entrepreneurs to solve the problem of production. “I am thankful to God that I am doing the continuation of the struggle, by making sure I teach members of my community what I do to boost our economy and individual welfare. I am confident that the future of the country is brighter through effective industrialisation, agribusiness, entrepreneurship and a revival of Cooperatives. I have no doubt wazalendo has transformed the lives of our soldiers and their families. A soldier who is financially stable can never fail to perform, “Gen Kayihura remarked.
He concluded by cautioning WSACCO to mobilise groups (like veterans) to benefit from government programs such as Operation Wealth Creation (OWC).
Col Joseph Freddy Onata, appreciated Gen Kale Kayihura for effectively utilizing the services of WSACCO.
He also thanked him for being a good leader who laid a strong foundation on which WSACCO still stands to date.
The CEO added that if it was not for the good UPDF leadership and guidance, Wazalendo SACCO would not be where it is now. “Wazalendo SACCO management is committed to driving the vision and mission for which the SACCO was established and to serve our members with convenience and fairness so that their expectations are met by solving their financial needs. We have now embarked on allowing other organised groups within the membership to join and save with us. We have also operationalised the business savings account to enable members to save from other sources other than salary and use their business savings as collateral to enable them to borrow from the SACCO using their business savings,” he said.
He informed the General that as part of its growth strategy, WSACCO has established a business arm; Wazalendo Investments (SMC) Ltd that will allow the SACCO to engage in other businesses for which SACCOs are restricted by law. “We are hopeful that WSACCO shall continue creating additional value to members through the business arm,” WSACCO’s CEO explained.
In his concluding remarks, Col Onata thanked Gen Kayihura for accepting the Monitoring and Evaluation team to visit his projects.
He assured him that the information shared and lessons picked will be valuable to WSACCO’s product development and credit extension to members.
He further urged other senior officers to emulate Gen Kayihura in utilizing the credit offered by the SACCO and guide subordinates on enterprise selection, loan usage and other welfare matters.
Col Onata was accompanied by the WSACCO’s Manager Mr. Milton Asiimwe and Officer in charge of Monitoring and Evaluation Capt Peterson Mateso, among others.