By Felix Oketcho
In a move aimed to resolve inadequate financial support to farming enterprises, farmers have mooted to mobilise initial capital to establish their own bank-TheSpy Uganda has learnt.
Under their umbrella organization of Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNFFE ), the largest private sector, farmer-based NGO in Uganda and one of the largest in East and Central Africa, farmers believe the above-mentioned initiative is one of the key mechanisms to empower themselves financially.
UNFFE which advocates, lobbies and articulates farmers’ developmental issues and programs, its activities reach grassroots farming communities in all corners of the country.
The membership of UNFFE is made up of over 90 independent associations of farmers, agro-industrialists and agro-commodity.
The Organization’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr.Kenneth Katungisa in an exclusive interview with our reporter noted that the move is in the right direction because commercial banks loans are not favourable to farmers.
“if you look at different loan packages offered by commercial banks to farmers, you realise that most of the loans are not favourable. Besides charging high-interest rates, the loans carry a short term payment period,” noted Katungisa.
He is optimistic that once farmers’ bank is in place, youth will be enticed to join farming as a profitable venture and force commercial banks to lower their interest rates.
“We strongly believe farmers’ bank will solve our problems and lend us loans at the lower interest rates,” Katungisa said while speaking at UNFFE headquarters in Nakasero the head of the World Food Day celebrations on 16th October.
This year’s World Food Day will be commemorated under the theme: ”Our actions better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life.
Katungisa urged the government to increase funding to the agriculture budget saying people are affected by hunger countrywide due to low food production.
“We have initiated a good working partnership with the ministry of agriculture leadership however we appeal to parliament to allocate more budget to finance agriculture sector. We need more money to scale up extension services, increase food production and address climate change shocks. Covid-19 pandemic lockdown also affected food production resulting in hunger,” he explained.
Meanwhile, according to Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reports, 89 per cent of the population in Uganda is food secure.