[Do not publish] Southwestern Women Bean Growers and Marketing Cooperative Union

Empowering women bean farmers through the establishment of collective marketing

e_sponsors
2014 SEED Africa Award; European Union
Sector
Sustainable Agriculture
e_city
Kampala
e_country
Uganda

The Southwestern Women Bean Growers Union acts as a co-operative for women sugar bean producers. In this capacity the enterprise sources markets, demands fair prices and provides members with production, post-harvest handling, and business management training. Women help to finance the co-operative through contributing one kilogram of produce per season. 

Still in its infancy stages, the enterprise already has over 1,000 active farmers. The enterprise empowers women by helping them to see financial possibility in what have been, until now, small localised farming ventures. The effects of this include increasing the women’s societal status as income-earners, while the cash flow contributes to better food security, health and education opportunities.

Eco-Inclusive Impacts

The enterprise empowers women by helping them to see financial possibility in what has been, until now, small localised farming ventures. This increases women’s societal status as income-earners, while the cash flow contributes to better food security, health and education opportunities.

  • Encouraging women to develop their farms beyond subsistence level, empowering them to compete in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
  • Improving food security for 65% of the districts’ populations through increased production, income and food availability. 
  • Replanting of trees used to stake the climbing beans, thus reducing soil erosion and stabilising hilltops across 500 acres.
  • Producing a fast-cooking bean variety, thereby reducing wood fuel demand as the beans cook quicker than other varieties available in Uganda. 
  • Saving energy and money for consumers, as the beans cook fast.
  • Growing a sustainable local industry, thus boosting the region’s economic output.
  • Providing farmers’ families with the financial means to pay for necessities like school fees. 

Partners

Southwestern Women Bean Growers Union works to rally together the existing smallholder sugar bean farming community in south western Uganda. Women can join the enterprise’s collective where they are trained in how to increase production and sales and receive social support and wide market access. Through multiple partnerships the enterprise also works to protect the local environment, replanting trees that have been cut to stake the beans.

Southwestern Women Bean Growers Union forms the core driving force of the enterprise. It currently employs seven full-time and nine part-time staff who work with partner organisations and the local community to build the capacity of the enterprise.

National Agricultural Research Organisation has been involved in all aspects of forming the enterprise. It supplies foundation bean seeds to the cooperative seed producers and provides technical input on seed and grain production.

Bugara Women Bean Seed Producers Association plays the role of a seed company, helps to multiply the sugar bean seed that is sold to the grain producers to boost production.

Kisoro District Local Government helps to mobilise the enterprise and its members bysupporting their activities at a local governmental level.