NYAGATARE - Rice farmers in Nyagatare District declined to sell their produce to their cooperative, CODERVAM, in the recent harvest season, due to accumulated debts.
Sources within the cooperative told The New Times that the decision led the cooperative to incur a loss of Rwf200 million.
According to members, the cooperative management has, on several occasions, failed to pay members their dues whenever they supplied rice at the cooperative’s factory.
“They have a lot of our money for tonnes of rice that we delivered to the factory. We decided to sell other harvests to outsiders because we wanted money to look after our families,” Eric Habiyambere, a farmer said.
This is against guidelines from the Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA) which requires that all rice harvested be supplied to the cooperative-owned factory.
Other sources said, as a result of the financial loss, its president, Martin Uwayezu resigned this month.
Uwayezu declined to answer our calls to confirm the claims.
One of the managers at the cooperative, who spoke on condition of anonymity, however, intimated that that there have been serious wrangles between Uwayezu and the cooperative’s finance manager over finances.
In an interview with reporters, the district vice mayor in charge of economic development, Stanley Muganwa, said that he had received reports of non payment of farmers and ordered the cooperative’s management to ensure that the members’ outstanding debts are cleared.
CODERVAM was created in 1982 and currently has over 1,080 members.