BUJUMBURA July 13th (ABP) – The UPESCO cooperative (Union of Socio-Cooperative Persons) has undertaken since 2015 a fish farming and rice farming project in order to overcome unemployment and contribute in development, said the deputy leader of the executive committee of UPESCO, Mr. Joram Niyonzima, in an interview he gave to a check by ABP.
Mr. Niyonzima said that this cooperative started its activities as an association with 15 people, including nine men and six women, undertaking small self-development works.
According to the deputy leader of the executive committee of UPESCO, the association was originally called ACEC+ (Association of loan, savings, trade and others), whose members cultivated vegetables such as amaranths, raised fish from tilapia type and raised chickens and rabbits. Members were entitled to small mutually contracted loans without interest, Niyonzima said, adding that loans were also given to other non-members, but repayable with interest.
Initially, that association functioned thanks to the monthly contributions of its members. But the latter resolved to contract a loan from the Youth Investment Bank (BIJE) for its proper functioning.
Mr Niyonzima said in 2018, their association responded to the government’s appeal to integrate into cooperatives. He thus went to the API (Burundi Investment Promotion Authority) to seek the tax registration number and the trade register in order to form a cooperative, hence the formation of UPESCO, which saw the integration of other members up to 32 people, including 13 women and 19 men, for the development of community works with a capital of three million two hundred francs.
According to that UPESCO executive committee manager, their cooperative already has 205 members. These are the young people who, from 2020, have become enthusiastic about the activities of that cooperative and have decided to join it.
However, UPESCO faces certain challenges. It is in particular the lack of financial means and donors. In addition, members use a lot of resources that are not recovered following climate change, Mr. Niyonzima deplored.
However, UPESCO, which started with a pond for breeding fish, currently has two ponds with 5,000 fish, he said, noting that they plan to make the extension to build a large pond of 6,000 fish. In addition, UPESCO, which had to pay rents to work, was able to buy its own land.
UPESCO is located in Nyambuye, precisely in Gishingano, Niyonzima said, who appealed to the people to love community works to develop and exchange experiences.