The Project ‘Linking Farmers to Markets’ (LIFAM) that operates in the Private Sector Federation in is to work with farmers and provide information on crop production increase while paving towards sustainable market for produce in Kamonyi District.
The project leadership said this during the meeting with farmers’ cooperatives in Kamonyi district on Tuesday 29th, 10, 2013. In this meeting, farmers made known their farming limitations including low prices, poor working relations with financial institutions as well as lack of enough fertilizers.
For Betty Uwimana the coordinator of Impuyano Union for soya and cassava farmers’ cooperatives, the price at which farmers sell crops is too low for farmers to keep the activity going.
On the issue concerning banks and microfinance institutions that provide loans to farmers, Celestin Nsengiyaremye the chairperson of cassava farmers’ cooperative in Runda sector says banks need payback with interest rates just one month after giving out a loan.
“Apart from the Rwanda Development Bank (BRD), there is no any other bank that accepts the conditions of the farmers, to wait on paying the loan until the harvesting period. BRD also delays in providing the credit and sometimes farmers miss out the planting season.”
The farmers in Kamontyi District also discussed with LIFAM about the issue of fertilizers. In the past arrangement, farmers would get fertilizers in debts and pay it off with their harvest but now full payments are needed before they purchase fertilizers. This has reduced the use of fertilizers since few can afford the full purchase.
Dr. Livingstone Byamungu the coordinator of LIFAM project said the goal of this project is to connect and advocate for farmers to the concerned levels and ensure their limitations are solved.
LIFAM promised to help farmers in Kamonyi district have study trips to learn from other farmers, to get information on the right prices country wide, to connect farmers with financial institutions and advice them on being professional farmers.
Rwanda’s economy is based on agriculture with 70percet of Rwandans doing agriculture, yet people who invest in agriculture are still few.
In order to increase the number of people investing in agriculture in the second Economic Development Poverty Reduction Strategies (EDPRS2) the loans provided from banks to agriculture projects need to increase from 9percent to 18percent.