President Yoweri Museveni has said government will soon roll out a system where farmers are supported directly by Uganda Development Bank (UDB) because high interest rates charged by commercial banks can’t make them produce commercially and sustainably.
“We are also rolling out a system where farmers will be supported directly by the Uganda Development Bank. This Bank will offer small interest loans to farmers and Ugandans investing in industries as priority,” Museveni said, adding: “We do not want farmers to end up borrowing at high interest rates from banks and money lenders that will harass them, because such things disrupt them and we end up losing quality on production because these farmers are busy operating on pressure.”
He made the remarks Friday while meeting with farmers’ representatives and stakeholders from the districts of; Mubende, Kibaale, Kyankwanzi, Kagadi, and Kasanda. The discussion centered on maize production and how we can achieve high and quality yields.
On average, Museveni said, farmers in this region produce about 7 bags of maize per acre.
If they use fertilisers and irrigation, he added, they will be able to produce about 36 bags per acre.
“This is however, so low compared to a maize farmer in Brazil who will produce 50 bags for the same piece of land in their worst harvest,” he said, adding: “We are waking up; we are going to handle issues of fertilisers for farmers.”
He added that “we are not producing at our potential, yet we should be doing far better. We are starting to wake up, God gave us a very beautiful country with so much rain and fertile soil, but we do not know how to use them.”
He said Uganda has a small market for maize but we still buy some maize flour from abroad “because our people are not grinding the maize to required standards.”
In 2017/18, we spent $54m dollars on over 50,000 tones of maize flour imports; and about $26m on importing 1000 tones of cereal or maize products.
“This is the same that is happening to sugar, we import certain sugar products because we are only manufacturing sugar for taking tea. In the end we have too much sugar locked up in stores,” he said.