Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (Agra), has earmarked Rwf300 million as a revolving fund to provide agro-based cooperatives with necessary farm inputs. The programme is implemented through its local partner, Rwanda Rural Rehabilitation Initiative (RWARRI).
RWARRI is an NGO that promotes socio-economic welfare of rural communities in the country. Yesterday, RWARRI signed an agreement with several Saccos to offer loans to farmers, especially for purchasing artificial fertilisers.
The agreement was made in the presence of Sacco managers, cooperative representatives, RWARRI coordinator and officials from the Ministry of Agriculture. RWARRI will in effect transfer up to Rwf30 million to the Saccos that will ultimately be given to the farmers across Ruhanga, Kamonyi, Ngoma, Kayonza and Rwamagana districts.
Bellange Uwizeye, a RWARRI official, said he was optimistic that the deal would be beneficial to the farmers. "We have a common ground, we are trying to help farmers maximise production. We, however, had to agree with the banks on the modalities of offering the farmers loans. The interest on the loans must be reasonable and the farmers, too, must give assurance of paying back," he said
According to Uwizeye, loans for agriculture are quite different from business loans, since farmers have to wait for some time to sell produce. "Agriculture loans should be friendly, to give farmers grace period to harvest and be able to pay. So, it's great that we agreed on the terms. Interest will be 2 per cent per month. It is reasonable," he said.
Christian Muhizi, the manager of Murama Sacco in Kayonza District, said the money would be availed for the farmers forthwith. He, however, insisted that loan to fertilisers should be given with much scrutiny to avoid plunging Saccos into losses.
Farmers are our main clients, the banks actually belong to them. We shall give the money even before RWARRI-Agra money comes. What we need is quick procedures regarding loan insurance from parties concerned," Muhizi said.