10 November 2012

Uganda: Banks Must Back Livestock Farmers' Development

Kampala — Commercial banks have been urged to support the development of the livestock industry by offering soft loans to farmers.

Uganda's state minister for animal husbandry Bright Rwamirama noted that the livestock sector is lagging behind in development compared to other sectors because the farmers lack capital to invest.

"The livestock sector is capital intensive. A lot of support is needed for farmers to invest in crossbreeding and equipping themselves with modern livestock machines," said Rwamirama while opening the international poultry and livestock expo in Kampala. He explained for the rest of the EAC countries to have a brilliant livestock sector; banks must participate by giving soft loans to farmers. Rwamirama added that farmers will be able to access loans to acquire new technologies that can support high productivity.

"Adopting new technologies used in the livestock sector requires money. This can easily be accessed through commercial banks but majority are not willing to offer loans to farmers," he pointed out.

The minister assured farmers government support, though urged them to form cooperatives.

"The ministry is not only responsible for trading but it has programs which can be utilized by farmers to get access to credits. What farmers need is to get organized," he advised.

Farmers who participated in the expo told the minister they have been ignored in all government livestock programs adding that accessing veterinary services in most parts is a big challenge.

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