Lira Farmers Complain of Challenges Accessing Agricultural Credit Facility Loans – The Ankole Times

Lira Farmers Complain of Challenges Accessing Agricultural Credit Facility Loans

Thursday, October 19, 2023
Workshop organized by the Bank of Uganda at the Margarita Palace Hotel in Lira City, involving stakeholders in discussions about the Agricultural Credit Facility Loan and the Small Business Recovery Plan. Photo by Okidi Patrick.
Okidi Patrick
3 Min Read

Several participants who attended the training organized by Bank of Uganda expressed their concerns regarding the work of commercial banks in relation to the Agricultural Credit Facility. They insist that the money should be channeled exclusively through chambers of commerce.

On behalf of the Deputy Governor of Bank of Uganda, who is currently occupied with a busy schedule, Alupo Christine, the Director of Currency at the Bank of Uganda, conveyed a message to the hundreds of participants gathered on Thursday at Margarita Palace Hotel in Lira City. She conveyed the Bank of Uganda’s condolences for the untimely passing of the former Mayor of Lira City West Division, Michael Ogwal Achonga (RIP). Christine began by relaying the Deputy Governor’s message about the beloved Mayor Achonga.

The event, themed “Understanding the Role of the Bank of Uganda in Achieving Economic Transformation,” emphasized the need for coordination through partnerships with the community. Bank of Uganda is partnering with Lira City to renovate Ayago Health Centre III. They will sign a Memorandum of Understanding and look forward to implementing this project.

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Winnie Melissa, the Director of the Agricultural Credit Facility, advised participants that commercial banks should make it more convenient for farmers to access loans. She encouraged farmers to have a bank account and be well-prepared with a clear plan for utilizing the borrowed funds.

The role of Bank of Uganda is to manage these funds on behalf of the government while also educating farmers about the loan process. Melissa pointed out that financial institutions may have varying requirements.

She mentioned that over 800 billion shillings were disbursed under the Agricultural Credit Facility programs, and Sacco cooperatives stand a high chance of borrowing based on credit history and other considerations.

Mr. Hamilton Waiswa, the Director of the Commercial Banking Department responsible for supervising and regulating commercial bank activities, stated that there are 24 commercial banks in the country and urged farmers to choose the bank that suits their interests.

However, there were mixed reactions from some participants regarding the Agricultural Credit Facility loan. Otim Tom Otuke of Timo Fresh Front Enterprises requested that agricultural loans not be channeled through commercial banks. He claimed that the local farmers do not benefit from this approach due to high account balance requirements and the banks’ reluctance to grant loans.

Ojede Jieglar Bobson also argued against commercial banks being in charge of providing Agricultural Credit Facility loans, citing numerous issues and loopholes associated with these banks. He insisted that commercial banks were not ready to assist farmers, especially in many parts of the country, including Lira City.

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The training organized by Bank of Uganda at Margarita Palace Hotel in Lira saw over 900 participants in attendance.

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