KAMPALA — PostBank has launched the second phase of its Agricultural Forums in Soroti district— equipping farmers with knowledge and skills to jumpstart their agribusinesses.
85% of the farming community in Uganda are smallholder farmers according to the 2021 BMC report on Agriculture and Food Security. However, these farming communities have inadequate access to financial capacities to purchase and use the right inputs which limits productivity and production, have limited access to the market, and lack access to extension services.
This year, PostBank is set to conduct forums in Soroti, Kapchorwa and Kween districts, Mbale and its neighboring districts; Namisindwa, Sironko, Bulambuli and Manafwa. In the West, the bank will traverse Kagadi, Fort Portal, Kamwenge and Kasese districts.
The bank will reach out to over 400 small and medium scale farmers and equip them with money management skills, loan management skills, climate smart agriculture knowledge, savings, among others, to enable them transition from subsistence farming to commercialized agriculture.
Jimmy Ocen, Manager Agriculture Lending, noted that PostBank which recently acquired a tier 1 license to operate as a fully-fledged commercial bank, remains largely agriculture-driven. “Our aim is to continue supporting MSMEs that are involved in the agriculture value chain – production, trade, processing, distribution, storage, and logistics, on a deeper and wider scale. These forums are set to help us create that awareness and impact the underserved communities.”
“Given the numbers of agriculture loans that grow every day, we are truly the leaders in agribusiness financing. We have facilitated the acquisition of over 350 tractors in the last seven seasons as the Bank’s contribution to farm mechanization countrywide. We have also continued to innovate products and services that will enable farmers increase their yields which we believe will also better their bargaining power thus improving livelihoods,” Ocen said, adding that, “all our agriculture loan products are insured.”
Stakeholders like the government have been very instrumental in supporting farmers to increase productivity through encouraging adaptation strategies like planting different crops, drought-resistant varieties and fallowing among others.
With the majority of the rural population being unbanked and having close to no access to financial services, this limits their potential to productivity in both agriculture and trade.
PostBank through the agricultural forums will be cascading knowledge and skills for agribusiness to farmers as part of its efforts to push the financial inclusion agenda.
“I am grateful for initiatives like these that will go a long way in enabling us to improve our agribusiness skills. From today’s session, I am convinced that PostBank is my development partner
– the terms for agriculture loans as revealed today, are very reasonable and I look forward to getting financial support to grow my business. I have also gained some knowledge to enhance my farming techniques and increase my yields,” said Aanyu Jane, a farmer in Soroti.
Last year, PostBank conducted agricultural forums in Mubende, Lira, Anaka, Bweyale, Hoima, Masindi and Gulu districts where more than 850 smallholder farmers were skilled on how to improve their businesses for profit maximization.