Charles Nkumbi, the Rwimi Ware House Manager says that in the past five months, the number of farmers depositing their produce at the ware house has increased from 300 to 900. The Ware house receipt system has also enabled farmers' associations to sell their produce to World Food Programme--WFP.
A warehouse receipt is a document that provides proof of ownership of commodities. The warehouse receipt system involves farmers who are referred to as depositors taking their produce in a secured warehouse, where it is dried, graded, bagged and stored.
In the past, the receipt system wasn’t popular with the farmers and the warehouses were underutilized. However, following capacity building by warehouse managers and district agricultural departments, the farmers have started embracing the receipt system.
The major warehouses in the region are Nyakatonzi in Kasese district and Rwimi in Kabarole district.
David Mugenyi, a maize farmer in Rwimi Sub County, says the receipt system has enabled him and other farmers in the area to confidently store their produce as they wait for better market prices. Mugenyi also says that since some farmers can’t afford to purchase post harvesting handling equipment, the warehouse provides the services which enable their produce to be of good quality.
He says in the past they would sell their crops directly from the gardens for lack of post-harvest storage facilities.
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Farmers’ association have also benefited from the receipt system. Rwimi Maize farmers made up of 86 small-holder families, has sold maize thrice to World Food Programme (WFP) through the receipt system. Eunice Kakyo, a member says that from her profits, she has completed building a house and can take care of her children.
Chris Nkumbi, the manager Rwimi Warehouse, says the number of farmers depositing their produce has increased from 300 to 900 in the past five months. He says in the past farmers were being turned away by the high prices of storing their produce at the warehouse. According to Nkumbi, an average of 50 shillings is now charged on every kilogram of produce delivered to the warehouse. The fee caters for off-loading, weighing, drying, cleaning, fumigation and storage until the time a farmer opts to collect the produce.
Some farmers, however, say they spend three to four months without being paid and have resorted to selling their commodities to traders, who have the money to pay them there and then.
But Benjamin Tusiime, the Nyakatonzi warehouse manager, says some farmers who deposit produce at the warehouse are not patient, and want the money immediately, which the warehouse lacks. Tusiime says the warehouse plans to raise some money and pay the farmers an advance as they wait for the buyers.
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The warehouse system was introduced by law in 2006, with the aim of boosting trading in high quality maize grains.