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BoU’s Richard Byarugaba Hails Agrofresh as Maiden National Empowerment & Dev’t in Commercial Agric Conference Kicks Off

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Richard Byarugaba the Executive Director Finance at Bank of Uganda interacting with theYouth led by Musinguzi e at the function

 

Richard Byarugaba the Executive Director in Charge of Finance (EDF) at Bank of Uganda has hailed the leadership of Agrofresh for what he called their tremendous work towards supporting the development of commercial agriculture.

Through public-private partnerships, Byarugaba said Agrofresh is doing wonders especially in supporting youths who are engaging in Agriculture.

“I applaud Agrofresh for supporting agriculture sector through the public-private sector partnership,” he said 

Led by Joshua Laban Musinguzi it’s co-founder and ED, Agrofresh has carried out massive operations with an aim of uplifting farmers.

It’s recent campaigns which has since gone digital are aimed at luring a big fraction of youths into commercial agriculture.

Musinguzi this week told this website that they aim at having a million youths in commercial agriculture by 2030.

“On our Farmers Online DataBase, we have over 300 youths who are ready for capacity building, and all other help,” he said on Monday December 5.

Officiating the first day of 1st National Empowerment & Development in Commercial Agriculture Conference, Byarugaba reminded delegates that agriculture is one of the core sectors of the Ugandan economy, employing about 70% of the country’s working population through direct agriculture and agro-processing. 

“The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) also indicated that, in the fiscal year 2020/2021, agriculture accounted for about 23.7% of GDP, and 31% of export earnings.  Promotion of the agricultural sector is one of the deliberate efforts the government has put in place to reduce poverty and attain economic growth.  This is envisaged in the Uganda Vision 2040 where agriculture is highlighted as one of the transformative sectors to drive the Uganda Vision 2040,” he said.

Byarugaba holding the File with Musinguzi at the function

He noted thatit is impractical to tackle the subject of transformation without talking about financing. 

“In the same light, agricultural financing is a critical success factor. Transforming Uganda’s agricultural sector that is dominated by small scale farmers would require a more holistic set of interventions that include safeguarding the quality of farm inputs; creation of producer cooperatives to bulk the output and enforce quality control; provision of agricultural extension services to enhance productivity; strengthening rural road infrastructure; and devising appropriate risk management mechanisms amongst others,” he sad 

To address the funding gaps, government, he said established the Agricultural Credit Facility scheme in the year 2009 with the sole objective of commercializing and mechanizing agriculture through the provision of affordable credit to small, medium and large enterprises engaged in agriculture and agro-processing. 

To address the challenge of fund inaccessibility by the smallholder farmers, the government also established the Block Allocation arrangement where farmers are allowed to access ACF to a tune of Shs20m without collateral required in the conventional banking. 

The fund have since benefited over 500 farmers who have borrowed close to Shs700Bn

“ACF continues to facilitate access to finance by the small-holder farmers with 74% of the funded projects under the scheme being micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs),” he said 

Speaking at the function, Musinguzi called for more sensitization of the fund since majority of the Youth are not aware about it.

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