Nile Breweries takes financial literacy to Kigezi region barley growersParticipants in Nile Breweries financial literacy classes, also walked home with knapsack sprayers and protective gear like gumboots and coveralls
After success with its financial literacy program for its growers in in eastern Uganda, Njeru based brew maker Nile breweries, has moved to shore up the bankability of its 1800 contract farmers in western Uganda, through improved financial literacy. The financial literacy clinics target farmers from the districts of Kabale and Rubanda among others, who supply the company with barley.
The farmers are taken through planning, budgeting, investment, bookkeeping and saving and credit management skills. The training is expected to help them to manage their farming enterprises better, and grow financially in addition to an improved credit profile.
Emmanuel Njuki, Nile breweries Head of Legal and Corporate Affairs, told the farmers that the training was part of the brewer’s ‘efforts to support farmers towards a higher standard of living. “We depend 100pc on you for barley, and by financially empowering you, we want to ensure that the crop is profitable and that the proceeds are well invested,” Njuki said.
He added that by empowering them with financial skills such as budgeting, investments and how to access credit, the growers will be better placed to access better terms of financing to grow their farming businesses.
Nile Breweries uses homegrown barley, sorghum, maize and cassava to brew its beers. Currently, the brewer has contracted 25,000 farmers (15,000 for barley and 10,000 for sorghum) in Northern, Eastern and South-Western Uganda. According to Njuki, the company purchases produce worth UGX 109.3 billion annually from local farmers.
Lack of access to affordable and sizeable credit, is often cited by smallholder farmers, as one of the biggest obstacles to achieving their growth goals. Bob Mutegeki Nile Breweries Agriculturist Team Leader for the South Western region said the financial literacy training clinics, were a timely intervention that should help build better credit profiles and open access to credit facilities.
“We work with over 1,800 farmers in South Western region Kabale, Rubanda, Kanungu and Kisoro Districts who supply barley to the brewery. We have helped the farmers in this region form Village Savings and Loan Associations and savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs). The farmers are using these savings groups to borrow loans among themselves at affordable interest rates and to also access bank credit,” Mutegeki explained.
According to Njuki, 100 percent of the brewer’s raw material is locally produced and “our agriculture sustainability goal is to have 100 percent of our direct farmers skilled, connected and financially empowered by 2025.”