RWENZORI: Farmers in Rwenzori region offer advice on agriculture credit facility fundFarmers in the Rwenzori Region have been advised to plan ahead of time if they are to benefit from the agriculture credit facility fund put in place by the government through the Bank of Uganda.
The fund was set up to help farmers boost the agribusiness industry through production, value addition, and other ways.
People in the agricultural value chain met in Fort Portal City on Wednesday. The manager of the post bank’s “agriculture lending officer” said that most farmers apply for agricultural credit facility loans when the season is already going on.
He says that even though the loan is approved and the paperwork is done, there are times when it takes longer than expected to plant or apply fertilizer, which can hurt the farmer’s chances of making money.
Ocen says that many farmers are having a hard time paying back agricultural credit facility loans because they spend the money on things like school fees, businesses, and luxury. By the time they think about using the money for what it was supposed to be used for, it’s already too little for anything, so they can’t get back on their feet.
He says the agriculture credit facility fund is also affected by low uptake from the intended category. This he attributed to a lack of sufficient information flow by the public.
“We want to identify the challenges the farmers are facing because when we understand their concerns, it helps us deal with them accordingly,” added Ocen.
Head of business in Fort Portal City, Paul Drake Kasande, says that the agricultural credit facility fund would help the country’s agribusiness even more. But he says that bureaucracy and high interest rates make it hard for the public to take advantage of the fund.
Kasande says most Ugandans are small-scale entrepreneurs and, therefore, there is a need to establish a fund with friendly terms to accommodate people with small businesses, apart from medium-sized enterprises, to address the matter of inclusiveness.
March Kasaija, a farmer and entrepreneur in Kabarole district, called for a reduction in the interest rates on agricultural loans to enable farmers to pay back the accessed loans on time. He has also told farmers to learn everything they can about a farming business before they start it.
Kasaija told other farmers to use modern farming methods like mechanization and better seed varieties as a way to reduce the risk of accidents.