ZOMBO. In its quest to foster coffee quality to meet international standards and widen the market base, Okoro coffee growers' cooperative union has installed at least two wet mills (micro stations) at Leda and Akaa primary societies in Abanga and Akaa sub-counties in Zombo district respectively.

This brings to four, the numbers of micro stations established by the union.

The wet mills are the union's buying and pulping centers for coffee cherries as well as an untampered modernized drying place for coffee parchment.

Each of the generator-powered McKinnon-made machine has the capacity to pulp not less than 700 tons of coffee cherries.

While commissioning one of the machines at Leda primary society in Abanga sub-county on Monday, Mr Bernard Olar, the union's chairman said the wet mill belongs to the members of the primary society who should zealously support and guard it against vandalism and bad politics.

"This primary society and all its assets do not belong to us the leaders of Okoro cooperative union but to you the members of the primary society and so, its prosperity primarily depends on you," he said.

Olar revealed plans to establish wet mills at all the 35 primary societies by 2020 in a bid to enable farmers to fetch better prices and income from quality coffee.

He also said the union recently received a tractor from the operation wealth creation and noted that this will help the farmers to open large farms that will, in turn, increase productivity.

Similarly, Mr Isaac Ochan, the chairman Leda primary society called for unity and stressed that the primary society belongs to everyone in the community and it is, therefore, the responsibility of everyone to protect its prosperity interests.

He said Leda primary society underwent good and bad times since its registration in 1971 and noted that the cooperative movement is now on track with support from development partners like ‘We Effect’ that has been and is still supportive to Okoro coffee growers' cooperative union.

"I tell you members we are now on track with the support from our partners and union leadership because we are witnessing what we had never seen and known before in the areas of finance, capacity building and tools among others," Ochan said.

Mr Emilio Oryem, a resident of Kakra village, Asina parish and one of the pioneers of Leda primary society commended the mother union for thinking of boosting its primary societies to face the prevailing challenges in the coffee industry.

He urged all the members of the primary society to increase their coffee acreage to meet the increasing demand for coffee both within and the international market.

Established in the 1070s, Okoro Coffee Growers’ Cooperative Union Ltd is a member-owned Cooperative Organization located in Zombo district and serves the coffee farmers in the West Nile sub-region in the districts of Arua, Nebbi, and Zombo.

It comprises of 35 primary cooperative societies with at least 350 registered coffee farmers per society.

whet mills 30 10 19One of the wet mills being stationed at Leda primary society. PHOTO BY BRUNO MANANO