Local farmer, already grappling with challenges of climate change and poor seeds, have appealed for increased access to finance.
The farmers made the appeal on Friday during a dialogue organised by the Rwanda Development Organisation (RDO), which aimed to address the challenges that they face.
“Besides the required collateral, you can’t easily get a loan from a financial institution. And when you do, they ask you to pay before you even plant the seeds,” said Beatrice Mukamudenge, a farmer from Nyamagabe District.
In addition to the fact that financial institutions are unwilling to lend them money, farmers say that they are battered by climate change problems and the high cost of farm inputs, which lead to poor yields.
This has prompted RDO to request the government to encourage Umurenge SACCOs and other financial institutions to introduce agriculture-tailored loans to enable farmers to repay after harvest and sell of their produce.
“In the past, we had high import rates of seeds. We raised that issue at last year’s dialogue. Now, there is domestic production and multiplication of seeds which fit local climate and geography,” said Eugene Rwibasira, the Executive Secretary of RDO.
She added: “For example, the hybrid maize seeds don’t give any yield in our mountainous area. It is a serious issue because you can’t return even the capital you invested.”
Solutions and Recommendations
Octave Semwaga, the Director-General of Strategic Planning and Programmes Coordination at the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources advised farmers to form associations, saying it would be easier to access funding.
Farmers were also advised to take advantage of government subsidies such as small-scale irrigation systems and fertilizers.