The Workshop on Agri-finance was a success!

The Workshop on Agri-finance was a success!

in News

"There are two primary choices in life: To accept conditions as they are, or, accept the responsibility for changing them."

With this inspiring quote and the presence of the Minister of Agriculture, the Honorable Vincent Ssempijja, the Agri-finance Value Chains Workshop was officially opened on Wednesday the 1st of July.

This two day workshop, organized by VECO in collaboration with UCA & UNFFE, had as a goal to disseminate the findings of a commissioned study and share lessons learnt. The program included interesting presentations from HODFA (Hoima District Farmers Association), CARE-Uganda, Mateete SACCO, VECO, Trias and HDI (Hope Development Initiative) on the different models of financing they are using to help small holder farmers get access to credit. All participants also received a copy of the book, published by VECO, containing the results and findings of the conducted study.

The participants were able to ask questions and share their perspectives on the strengths and challenges of each of the presented models. This led to some open, honest and constructive discussions. One of the most notable discussions even lead to a plead for the construction of a Cooperative Bank by Member of Parliament Peter Emmanuel Eriaku (MP of Kapelebyong County).

At the start of the second day, we had a chance to talk to mister Dauson M. Haperi, Representative for the Doho Cooperative, mainly dealing in Rice, and ask him about how he experienced the workshop:

"After just one day I've gained a lot already. It is good to be able to interact with colleagues from other parts of the country that have been organized as cooperatives for longer (we've only been established 2 years ago) and learn from what they are doing. I got a chance to talk to colleagues from Tanzania as well and I even spoke to the representative of the East African Rice Council. It is good to hear about their experiences with VECO, since we are working with VECO too. Today I hope to learn how we can strengthen our organisation further financially, together with my colleague from Doho SACCO."

The workshop was concluded by presentations from Agriprofocus and EPRC (Economic Policy Research Centre). Agriprofocus encouraged all participants to keep sharing experiences and lessons learnt through the use of the online Agriprofocus platform. EPRC ended with a call to action for the government to put in place an effective institutional and regulatory framework for the currently informal systems of finance (such as VSLA's, SACCO's,...) that provide a necessary means of accessing credit for small holder farmers.

During the workshop, and the discussions it has generated, it became clear that farmers need more than just access to credit. They require a whole range of financial services (savings, credits, payment systems, insurance,...) tailored to their specific needs.

It is our hope, through continuous exchange and collaboration among all actors, we will be able to reach this goal and help small holder farmers prosper in the future.