Rwanda Development Organization (RDO) in partnership with IFDC organized a meeting in Nyagatare District which brought together smallholders farmers and financial institutions like Banque Rwandaise de Développement (BRD) and others banks operating in the District with the aim of promoting the investment in agricultural products especially the agricultural infrastructures. The meeting took place on 4th September, 2015 at MOON’S CHARITY HOTEL and was attended by the representatives of the following organizations:
- AGRO-DEALER COOPERATIVE,
- REPRESENTATIVES OF PRODUCERS’ COOPERATIVES
During the opening speech, the Executive Sectary of RDO, emphasized on the role of agriculture sector in socio-economic transformation of the country in general and Rwandan community whereby farmers occupy the majority. He explained that one of RDO priorities is to assist farmers to boost their income through the use of modern technology from land preparation to harvesting. Increasing agricultural income cannot be achieved if the cost of production remains high with low access to organized market, with no value addition to staple crops at smallholder farmers level, low use of mechanization as a tool to reduce cost of production and the time used for farming activities. As we know, agriculture contributes much more to the livelihoods of many people especially in rural area but if not transformed; the livelihoods of many people will continue to be very poor. It is against this background that a meeting to link farmers with financial institutions was organized in Nyagatare District. The purpose of the meeting was to promote the investment in agriculture in terms of harvesting facilities, value addition to the agricultural produce, mechanization and transportation of the produce.
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After a brief introduction of the meeting, the RDO Project Officer presented on the potential of agriculture development and economic boost in Nyagatare district that has a vast arable and fertile land more suitable for grains and cereals.
She mentioned that is an opportunity to invest more in agriculture sector and that can benefit to farmers as well to potential investors here financial institutions are more encouraged. She also talked about challenges that farmers encounter such as:
• Limited use of agro- inputs to increase production
• High post harvest losses due to poor infrastructures
• Poor quality of produce and hence low prices and limited valuable markets
• Low production due to use of rudimentary tools in agriculture development( limited mechanization)
• Limited investments in agriculture
• Climatic changes
All these challenges resulting in consequences like high production costs and transaction costs, persistent low productivity, limited farmer incomes and so on.
Hence to the challenges with consequences mentioned above, some solutions were proposed as follows:
Short term proposed solutions
• Increase in agriculture infrastructure
• Linking farmers to financial institutions
• Building farmer capacity
• Linking farmers to valuable markets
• Practicing Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM)
Long term proposed solutions
Specialization of cooperatives
Joint management and coordination of facilities
Linking actors in the value chain
Mechanization of agricultural activities
Increasing investment in Agriculture
Promoting smart agriculture
Participants in a meeting on agro-finance
For the above proposed solutions to be possible, both farmers and financial institutions were called to do the following:
Farmers were urged to change the mindset, be business oriented, be professional, be organized, honor commitments, to paying back loans, honoring contracts, farmer cooperatives to represent their members.
Financial institutions were called to intervene / finance agriculture, to partner with farmer organizations, direct link with value-chain actors, listen to farmers, ease procedures and conditions.
The farmers’ representatives who attended the meeting expressed their needs in terms of finance to access modern agricultural technology especially infrastructures such as drying machines, transport services for their commodities, warehouse for storage of their produce, value addition of the harvest by establishing processing plants , mechanization, etc.
The representative of BRD in the meeting picked interest and explained the ways in which BRD can provide support to farming business especially to farmer cooperatives through loans. Referring to the issues expressed by the farmers, he analyzed case by case and at the end advised them to seek finance more on:
BRD presents its agricultural products
For the above areas, he promised them that if conditions by BRD are fulfilled, the latter is ready to provide agricultural loans. The following are the requirements for farmer cooperatives to access loans from BRD:
- Audit report by Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA),
- Collateral for security,
- Assessment of cooperative management,
- A good bankable business plan.
After the intervention of BRD, the meeting was closed by RDO Executive Secretary by thanking all participants for their contributions especially BRD which witnessed its willing and commitment to invest in agriculture especially agro-infrastructure to boost the economy of the country in general and improve the livelihoods of the farmers in particular.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]