Strengthen Saccos to fund agriculture, activists tell government

Sunday September 04 2016
fin pic

A farmer attends to his maize garden. PHOTO BY PAUL TAJUBA

Kampala. The government should strengthen Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (Saccos) if farmers are to access quick and affordable finances, a micro business development expert has advised.

Mr Humphrey Mutaasa, the managing director of Agri-Point Initiatives, said research has shown that farmers fear to approach banks for loans due to lack of security, something that can be solved if Saccos were strengthened.

Saccos are not yet regulated but efforts are underway by government to have them regulated under the Micro Deposit Taking Institutions (MDI) Act, 2003, once Cabinet approves and Parliament endorses amendments to the law.
The move will safeguard the financial deposits of an estimated 620,000 customers across the country.

“You cannot send a peasant to a bank to access funds. Many farmers have never seen or entered a bank; they have land but no land titles. How do you expect that person to access money from the bank?” Mr Mutaasa asked.
“But Saccos are formed by local people, they know each other and can release funds to them timely unlike banks which sometimes release money after rain season,” he added.

Mr Mutaasa was speaking at a stakeholders meeting on climate change Learning Alliance working group on policy engagement organised by Uganda National Farmers Federation in partnership with Climate Change Department of Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) in Kampala recently.

Mr Chebet Maikut, the head of climate change department in MWE, said the agriculture sector was facing effects of climate change such as long dry spells and high temperatures, adding that initiatives aimed at funding farmers quickly during the rainy season should be adopted.

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THE EFFORTS

Government and partners have developed a Uganda Agricultural Insurance Scheme aimed at sinuring farmers against losses.

However, Mr Mr Robert Bakiika, the deputy executive director Environmental Management for Livelihood Improvement Bwaise Facility, an NGO, said the insurance scheme is shallow since it covers either weather or yields.

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