The Agricultural Credit Facility (ACF) has devised a path-breaking innovation of block allocation to enable farmers access loans based on alternative collateral such as chattel mortgages, cash flow based financing, and character-based loans, among others, Dr. Michael Atingi-Ego, Deputy Governor, Bank of Uganda, has revealed.
“This innovation is unlocking access to credit in areas with communal land tenure; and most especially, for micro and smallholder farmers who are otherwise excluded for lack of collateral to secure credit.
“By September 2020, the ACF had advanced UGX 2.8 billion to 187 small and micro borrowers with non-traditional collateral under block allocation,” he said.
The ACF is administered by the Bank of Uganda on behalf of the Government of Uganda.
The Deputy Governor said that through this innovation, the ACF working with the participating institutions, has extended loans of up to UGX 20 million to small-scale farmers.
He further said that block allocations support financial inclusion and advance equity in economic activity by serving women and youths with limited property rights.
Dr. Atingi-Ego made the remarks just before he a launched the 2020 Agricultural Finance Yearbook at Imperial Royal Hotel, Kampala on Tuesday.
The Agricultural Finance Yearbook has produced by the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) since 2014/15.
The yearbook contains several agri-financing models for various commodities such as rice, dairy, coffee, among others. The models have some standard features:aggregation of producers for economies of scale, functional linkages between value chain actors (input distributors, extension agents, agri-markets information providers, producers, storage units, marketing agents, processors, financial service providers, wherein some players are ‘lead agents’ in the segments where value chains are weak.
The Ugandan economy is still heavily reliant on agriculture, with 69 percent of households dependent on subsistence farming and nearly 75 percent of all households
Atingi-Ego revealed that the share of value-added by the agriculture sector in the economy stands at about 25 percent, presently.
“Boldly facing these facts, it is clear that whenever the BoU announces the Central Bank Rate (CBR), the intended policy signal may not penetrate through to the majority of the population. It is, also, quite evident that the route for the CBR signals to reach the people will be unblocked through agricultural finance,” Atingi-Ego said.
He added: “Fortunately, by seeking to close the information gap between agriculture and finance, these yearbooks bring much-needed illumination to the recesses of information asymmetry, thereby improving risk analysis and credit scoring of agricultural credit.”