Anthony Kituuka, the Equity Bank Uganda Executive Director
A survey conducted by Nu-Tec, an innovation minded implementer of the Shs 50 billion funding to Small and Medium Enterprises in the agriculture sector has revealed some of the challenges facing farmers in Northern Uganda.
During a half day workshop dubbed Insights from ‘Innovative Agrifinance Journey’ at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala on Thursday, Nu-Tec team lead Paul Kweheria said in the past 3 years of operation in the northern part of the country, 48 % of the farmers in Nwoya and Amuru reported facing flooding. They also reported increased temperature.
In Dokolo and Amolatar, 45% of the farmers reported prolonged rainfall periods. They also reported delayed rainfall.
According to Kweheria, this “means that climate change is real.”
Kweheria says that Nu-Tec Financial Services has recommended involvement of Insurance companies to instead provide insurance credit to help farmers build resilience and aid them cope up with the issues they are already facing.
Mercy Corps Uganda recognizes that harvests are vulnerable to dry spells and flooding, causing food shortages every year and as such, offers training to learn about drought-resistant crops and improved agricultural techniques, to improve the productivity of the land and help to diversify farming.
Mercy Corps Country Director Edward Simiyu said that where the agency wants to go is to build agri-lending opportunities for the traditionally excluded groups. These, he said, will include digital solutions to achieve youth employment opportunities and the women among others.
Anthony Kituuka, the Equity Bank Uganda Executive Director on the other hand said the bank’s appetite for agriculture has increased over the years to the current 15% and that the concentration is expected to be at 30% by 2024.
According to Kituuka, Equity does not look at farmers as farmers but as people who face challenges while doing business.
To this, Kituuka said, “my job is to make sure Equity Bank Uganda becomes the Agriculture Bank of Uganda.”
Mercy Corps and Equity Bank are partners of Nu-Tech Financial Services in the Northern Uganda project.
For the past 3 years, they have been implementing innovative approaches to financing small scale agribusiness actors. During this time, the partners reported an increase in household income of 30, 000 homes, an equivalent of 130, 000 people. Out of these, 42, 000 are women. Shs 32 billion (volume of loans) directly benefited these households. Nu-Tec reports that each household benefited 18 pounds.
However, the project ends in the first week of March 2022.
Business Focus understands that UKaid through FCDO will take over the project at a tune of 63 billion for the next 4 years. FCDO’s intention is to see Uganda resilient to the impacts of climate change.