25 December 2012

Uganda: Govt Moves to Offer Loans to Farmers

Kampala — Farmers will have reason to smile if the government concludes plans with international financial companies to offer financial loans to them.

According to Bright Rwamirama, the State Minister for Agriculture in charge of animal husbandry, discussions are in high gear with international financial institutions to offer farmers with loans.

He said this while launching the Tata Uganda Holds new John Deere Agricultural Equipments (Tractor) in Kampala.

"The Ministry is fade up with the costs and red tape of accessing credits by the farmers. It's why as ministry we decided to approach financial institutions outside Uganda.

"Very soon the ministry will choose one of them to pattern with. There are many financiers willing to offer support," he said.

Without disclosing the amount of money the ministry intends to borrow from the financiers, the minister noted that when the ministry gets the money it will enable many farmers to access the credits and re invest in the Agriculture sector.

He said they will be able to buy agriculture equipments like tractors ploughs and modern farming in puts like fertilizers.

The decision by the ministry to come up with such an idea came after Government programmes like Agriculture Credit Fund which the government channeled through commercial banks to facilitate farmers towards accessing credit for Agriculture production failed to produce positive results.

This was because all the money ended up supporting only large scale commercial farmers who had the security for the loans which the commercial banks were asking for before farmer got the agricultural credit.

Rwamirama observed that although Uganda is the basket of food for the East African Community region and its surrounding neighbors like Southern Sudan, the volume of food being produced by the local farmers is declining.

He said that this is because farmers are still using rudimental methods of farming like hand hoes which the minister attributed to the farmers lacking the capacity to acquire modern farming machines.

TATA Uganda Executive Director Shalendra Kundra said his company is ready to support the development of agriculture mechanization by offering on the market cheap but adjacent technology farming equipments.

"When the local farmer access such machines, it will have direct positive impact on production yields of crops and livestock hence growing agricultural industries which is still not performing well," he explained.

Shalendra added that his company will make sure that Agriculture tractors are available to the local farmers since they had penned a memorandum of understanding with the manufacture company John Deere to ensure that they supply the farming equipment.

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