Access to small loans remains a tiresome puzzle to local farmers yet they are a major component of the country’s economy.
Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF) has organized a 4-day trade fair at Gikondo Expo ground – local farmers will have a chance to meet Agricultural experts, investors, and potential clients for their products.
According to PSF, this exhibition has been codenamed ‘Accountability Day’ to provide a platform for deliberating on all issues concerning the agricultural sector.
Regina Kayitesi, Coordinator of Linking Farmers to Market (LIFAM) project at PSF has told KT Press that many agro processing companies and others that depend in part or entirely upon the agricultural production are at the expo from December 2-5th.
For example, Inyange Industries, Sulfo Rwanda, Bralirwa, Minimex, Kinazi cassava factory and many others “are looking for more suppliers,” she said.
Over 200 farmers from across the country will showcase their products.
Christine Murebwayire, the chairperson of Chamber of Rwanda Farmers’ at PSF says, “We are pleased to meet our counterparts and farmers that supply Rwandan products to the international market.”
The event has also attracted financial institutions that are currently offering farming packages, including Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD), Bank of Kigali and others.
According to Alexis Kanyankole, the CEO of BRD, the bank is offering farmers short term loans that go up to 3-5 years and the long term loans of five to ten years and a working capital destined to importers who want to purchase goods.
“Every year, we dedicate over Rwf 18 billion to farming projects. It belongs to the private sector to make bankable projects to use them,” said Kanyankole.
The bank also has a re-financing component which consists of providing loans to four banks including Letshego, Urwego Opportunity Bank and Unguka Bank, to give farmers a loan not exceeding Rwf 1 million per project.
During this Accountability-Day, guests and experts are discussing different topics aimed at enhancing agricultural produce, double exports and coming up with a solution to all concerns in the sector.
Among the topics being discussed are challenges of feeding the future, climate change and impact of advisory services on market access.
“We need to collectively discuss with stakeholders the issues concerning the Agricultural sector and how to double production,” Said Stephen Ruzibiza the Private Sector Federation Chief Executive Officer.
“Agricultural sector contributes immensely to our country that’s why we have an exhibition for farmers to showcase their products and we are urging the public to participate in this Accountability Day,” the PSF CEO further added.
Murebwayire said the “Accountability Day” is their first ever great opportunity to assess and evaluate themselves on their operational working scheme since they started in 2006.