Kampala- Government has committed itself to developing a policy that will help farmers transform from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture through coordinated financing strategies.
Speaking at a closed high level meeting of key agricultural finance stakeholders in Uganda, at the Ministry of Finance offices in Kampala early in the week, secretary to the treasury Keith Muhakanizi said the policy will salvage a sector that is responsible for the livelihood of majority of Uganda’s population.
The meeting is a follow-up of previous efforts from an earlier international agriculture financing conference held in June 2011 in Kampala, under the theme “Zipping Finance and Farming in Africa: Harnessing the Continent’s Potential.”
At the same meeting, Mr Muhakanizi said: “As the home for agricultural finance, the ministry will, among other things, strengthen its coordination role at government level and hence be relevant to agricultural finance development in Uganda.”
Mr Muhakanizi has also appointed a taskforce to be chaired by the National Planning Authority to guide the Finance ministry in developing an institutional framework for agricultural financing and the appropriate mechanisms to support the framework.
The taskforce will also design a work plan for the next year or so, which will among other things, lead to the development of an agricultural finance policy and strategy for Uganda.
Speaking about the development, agricultural finance adviser with Nepad agency Erick Sile said designating a “home” for agricultural finance would enable coordination of agricultural financing issues and would ultimately contribute to formulation of policies and strategies that create a conducive environment for private sector participation and transformation of agriculture in the country.
Commenting on the development, former minister for Agriculture and current Uganda Agribusiness Alliance chairperson Victoria Sekitoleko, in a statement, said: “Access to agricultural finance remains a major challenge in Uganda, affecting both the capacity of smallholder farmers to generate sustainable income from their farming activities and the ability of the country to attain food security and self-sufficiency.”
She added: “The new ‘home’ for agricultural finance, in the Ministry of Finance, will certainly guide sector players in the pursuit of a thriving agricultural sector in Uganda.”