11 December 2012

Rwanda: Micro-Finance to Offer Insurance Support to Farmers

Farmers under Duterembere, a local Micro Finance Institution will soon benefit from the institution's programme aimed at minimising losses due to bad weather, pests and various crop diseases.

Delphin Ngamije, the Managing Director of Duterembere, told The New Times that the programme will initially benefit farmers in districts the institution has identified as most affected by various crop diseases.

The districts include Kayonza and Gatsibo in the Eastern Province while those in the Southern Province are Kamonyi, Huye, Ruhango, and Rusizi in the Western Province.

Ngamije said insurance companies are not doing enough to protect farmers produce, and that the institution's programme will later be rolled out in the 20 districts where the institution operates across the country.

"We realised that although we provide farmers with financial support, it is not enough based on how their harvest is seriously affected mainly by pests and diseases," Ngamije said.

He explained that his institution will work with insurance companies, to help farmers insure their produce.

According to him, there are gaps between insurance companies and people in the agriculture sector that urgently needs to be addressed.

Ngamije said that farmer's loans make up 34 percent of the total loans the institution gives out.

He pointed out that the first beneficiaries of the initiative are those dealing in maize, pineapple and mushroom growing.

In October this year, the government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources launched a farmers' insurance scheme dubbed Hinga Urishingiwe.

This was after realising that farmers incur huge losses as a result of unfavourable weather conditions like drought.

The programme is being implemented in partnership with Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Development (SFSA), a non-profit organisation based in Switzerland.

It aims at promoting value-addition for smallholder farmers in developing countries.

The pilot project will benefit farmers in the Southern and Western Province. It has so far attracted more than 20,000 farmers.

The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Agnes Kalibata said this is in line with giving farmers alternatives especially those who entirely depend on rainfall as well as preventing losses as a result of changes in environment or weather.

Meanwhile, Farmers who get stranded with the produce will be linked to buyers with Duterembere's latest market strategy to access good markets. This is being done through encouraging farmers to join cooperatives so as to produce on large scale.

According to Duterembere officials, it is easy to attract buyers if farmers produce in large quantities.

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