The Private Sector Federation (PSF), through its chamber of Rwanda Farmers, is officially launching an agribusiness plan-sourcing program that will run in all the districts in the country for the next three months.
Agribusiness plan sourcing is a tool that will be used to educate farmers on how to write advanced business plans to steer access to more capital and boost their agribusinesses. Fred Kamanzi from CogeBanque noted that this process will allow farmers to know what is needed to acquire capital from banks and help them get access to more markets to sell their crops.
The program, funded by the Royal Embassy of the Netherlands, connects farmers to new markets under the 'Linking Farmers to New Markets' project (LIFAM) and will last for a period of four years.
James Munyamana, the head of agri-business at the private sector federation, stated that the main aim of the project is to increase the number of farmers in the country and to ensure easier access to finance from banks: "This project is to build the capacity of Rwandan farmers and to allow its members to develop knowledge and skills allowing them to be more competitive and thus access more markets," he stated.
Farmers that spoke to The Rwanda Focus commended the plan and noted that it was overdue. But they remained skeptical about the short-term payment periods.
"We are happy that such projects are being put up, but the banks tend to ask us for a lot of money to pay back in a very short period of time, in which the businesses haven't yet peaked," Richard Ndahimana, one of the farmers, said.
Grace Umutoni, an entrepreneurship specialist at PSF encouraged farmers to participate in the project, saying that enrollment in the program is imperative for the farmers and investors engaged in production, processing, transportation, conservation, packaging and marketing of agriculture and livestock products to learn how to turn great ideas into opportunities by acquiring assistance from financial institutions.