Reformed Poachers and Batwa Farmers’ Cooperative Society (REPABFCOS) was started in 2019 for members to better benefit from tourism and the growing regional need for food and contribute to conservation through sustainable agribusiness. The cooperative therefore empowers members in doing agricultural business by training and supporting them with access to soft agricultural loans, seed and farm tools, extension services, farmer to farmer training, and collective access to the market.”The main target customers are local households, small restaurants, and lodges, tourism lodges, supermarkets, open daily markets, food stores, and groceries. The cooperative offers small loans to its members, purchase and support them with capital equipment, and manage day to day running of the Cooperative society. We offer loan services and build the capacity of the cooperative to serve its members better. The loan will be a very soft loan offering 4 month grace period and attracting only 5% taken at the month when the bollower starts paying back. To serve all members better, a resolution was made by beneficiaries to start a cooperative society and own shares and do a business where each member benefits equally.
The Cooperative addresses issues of poverty, hunger, and malnutrition (PHM) through training farmers, providing farm support such as seeds, farming equipment, extension services, and the provision of agricultural cash loans. The PHM has been there since the Batwa eviction in 1993 from their ancestral home in Bwindi forest now a national park and renowned home for the mountain gorillas. Limited access to the forest not only affected the Batwa native people but also the local non-Batwa people including the now reformed poachers and women. Traditionally, nearly all the people in these communities must work, till the land and manage fields of crops or animals to survive, and conduct other side projects or work to generate some small income. However, most of these people have no prior agricultural experience to guide their success and typically experience poor or inadequate results. The luck of accessible guiding knowledge in farming, finance, and technology input causes poor farmers to remain and become poorer.