“Our group started with 15 members in 2006” said Achila Molly the chairperson, Moo-yao women’s group. We are located in Olilim trading centre, Olilim sub-county in Otuke District. The group is now having 30 members all of whom are women.
The Moo Yao women’s group which literally means “Shea Nut Oil”, started as an alulu (a form of savings group where each member contributed 5,000/= each and members’ total weekly contribution was given to each member on a rotational basis), they were locally processing the Shea-nut (yao) seeds using rudimentary tools such as motor and pestle, saucepan, gridding stone and mingling stick etc.
“The process was time consuming and tedious as it required roasting the Shea nuts seeds, pounding, grinding them to make the paste finer, boiling and then leaving it to cool before sieving the paste to get the oil which was later sold at cheap prices since everyone was making it and the processing lacked value addition.” Said Sarah Ejang, group member.
“From this traditional process we were producing only Shea oil making our earning to be very little hence almost no savings a tall since we would spend most of the proceeds in order to sustain the business.” Said the group treasurer.
In 2011, Moo-yao women’s group joined FAPAD during the PfR I implementation with support from CARE International in Uganda. We were then mobilized and trained on VSLA concept and supported with VSLA kits.
Our initial share value was only 500/= i.e. a member could only save a maximum of UGX 2,500/= on a weekly basis.
Our breakthrough came in 2016 when we received 2 Shea butter processing machines (Cold and Hot Press Machines) from FAPAD under Kidepo Critical Landscape project which was funded by UNDP/NEMA. This was after FAPAD had trained us on marketing and value addition such as post-harvest handling, making cold press Shea cooking oil, hot press Shea oil, jellies, lotions, creams, soaps and lip-balms.
After the machines were introduced and members trained to operate them, work was made easy and we started making a variety of products in pictures above unlike before.
Members agreed to be contributing at least two sacks of graded Shea seeds per year and also the group registered more 30 farmers in each of the four parishes of Olilim sub-county to supply us Shea nut seeds in order to meet the high processing demands for the machine.
Our products are sold ranging from 3,000/= to 25,000/=. One of our marketing strategies is to set different prices for the immediate market (the community) and outside the community from where we work.
We have also put up some products for display at our display stall which was constructed by FAPAD, Market information centre (Natural resources department Otuke district local government) and FAPAD’s offices.
“Form the sales of our products as a group, we are now able to save between 400,000/= to 900,000/= per month”, the treasurer explained.
Through our effort to conserve the environment, in Olilim Sub County, Otuke District Local Government appreciated and connected us to Enhancing Resilience of Communities to Climate Change through catchment based integrated management of water and related resources under Ministry of Water and Environment in Uganda (EURECCCA) project which supported us with another set of stainless steel Shea butter processing machine.
It is because of this business that we are now able to pay school fees for our children, buy livestock and construct permanent structures at our homes, and sustain our families.
To sustain our business, we plan to certify our products with UNBS so as to penetrate both domestic and foreign markets, buy a group land and construct a permanent factory and a storage facility with our savings to boost our earnings.
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