Bankers, government trade blame over poor agriculture sector
Posted Friday, September 27 2013 at 01:00
Kampala- The minister of Agriculture and chief executive officers of leading commercial banks in the country yesterday traded accusations over the poor performance of the agriculture sector.
Addressing the CEOs yesterday, Mr Tress Bucyanayandi accused bankers of failing to finance agricultural enterprises arguing that they are risky.
Given the agriculture sector’s financing challenges—reduced national budget funding over the last five years, the sector’s potential has not fully been realised yet it employs about 80 per cent of the population.
Former Agriculture minister Victoria Sekitoleko blamed the failing agricultural sector on weak leadership in the ministry, citing absence of representatives in the meeting to discuss the sector.
Dr Samuel Ssejjaka, the chairman Uganda Development Bank, said government has failed to pay attention to this sector.
Instead, it is blaming commercial banks which, on the contrary, are ready to finance the sector but are not confident about the profitability of the sector.
“If you are talking about improving production in that sector even the small things like agricultural institutes are fast disappearing, public lands are being allocated to private developers, so that overall macro view of developing this sector for me is a problem. When you talk about a seed bank, where is a seed bank in this country,” he wondered.
He added that the developments taking place in the agricultural sector have been happening in a retrogressive manner considering that other areas have developed faster than agriculture.
According to Mr Philip Odera, the managing director Stanbic Bank, besides focusing on agriculture financing as a priority, the government needs to focus on leadership as well.
“A lot of money has been pumped in agriculture but we are not seeing results,” he said.
Mr Joel Kibazo, the key-note speaker, said Uganda has abundant wind, sunshine, water streams, and biomass which are all potential sources of energy but have not been exploited.