20 December 2012

Rwanda: BRD to Continue Financing Coffee Farmers

The Rwandan Development Bank, BRD has pledged to maintain credit support to coffee farmers in both the local currency and for the first time in dollars.

Since March this year, the bank has lent out a total of Rwf8 billion with half of the credit having been repaid.

"Starting with this coming year, the bank is going to provide loans to its clients who need funding even in dollars," Director of credit administration at the bank, Emmanuel Karuranga, said in Kigali yesterday

He added: "This is an advantage to them as they will not have to lose due to fluctuation of exchange rates and currency exchange fees charged by banks."

He, however, noted that due to unforeseen circumstances in the global coffee market like price fluctuations, competition from other coffee producing countries and bad weather conditions to mention but a few, the bank was not in a position to determine the amount of loans to be given out.

He said that BRD had demonstrated patience with only those who failed to repay their loans on time as they may have failed to sell their produce or had sold at a loss. He consequently said that the bank would carry forward the balance to be repaid to the following year.

"Our clients are about 40 not forgetting the ones who are represented by their cooperatives. The reason we give to them these loans is to mainly buy cherries and to also add value to their final product before they export. The government's priority is to sell value-added coffee," Karuranga said.

He warned farmers who sell unprocessed coffee at give away prices saying that hinders the growth of the sector.

"People in the private sector with the help of NAEB (Agricultural Export Development Board) can partner and set ways of processing coffee. For us as BRD, we are ready to support the projects," said Josephine Umurerwa, the acting director of investment at the bank.

The country's coffee production is expected to lower in the coming year as this year witnessed a glut in production yet prices at the global market were high.

Euvode Nshimyimana, director of operations at the bank added that the introduction of loan offers in dollars was a win-win story for coffee farmers and the bank.

"Today, the franc may be depreciating against the dollar; tomorrow the former may be appreciating. So, since they receive the proceeds in US dollars, we thought its better for them to pay back the loan in the same currency," he explained.

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