Ugandan bankers due to discuss bottlenecks in agriculture financingFlanked by Amito and Mweheire, Owor briefs the media on the upcoming conference which will focus on agriculture financing.
July 3—The Uganda Bankers Association (UBA) has chosen to focus on the bottlenecks involved with financing agriculture development during their annual one-day conference set for next Tuesday July 16 at the Kampala Serena Conference Centre. The Prime Minister is expected to officially open the talks which will also see the presence of the Governor, Bank of Uganda.
This year’s choice of main topic is apt since smallholder farmers have long complained that banks are reluctant to lend them money yet agriculture remains the backbone of Uganda’s $26 billion economy. Marianne Schoemaker, Managing Director, Rabo Partnerships will give the keynote address.
“We have chosen agriculture for a number of reasons, one being the strategic importance of the sector to Uganda’s social and economic progress. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood to the majority of Ugandans, employing over 70 pc of the workforce, and is also a major source of export revenue and raw materials for the agro industry,” Patrick Mweheire, the UBA Chairman said during a media briefing on Tuesday.
Under the theme, ‘De-risking financing and Investment in agriculture to promote decent youth employment and inclusive growth’, several hundred top executives from Uganda’s financial institutions and government officials are expected to attend. Currently, there are 24 licensed commercial banks in Uganda.
Mastercard, the official sponsor for the event, expressed its commitment to supporting financial sector growth through capacity building, development of new products/services and initiatives to drive financial inclusion.
Wilbrod Owor, the UBA Executive Director said,“This year’s conference aims to facilitate a focused discussion among key players and stakeholders regarding financing of agriculture while leveraging on several perspectives for mitigating risk including market incentives, technology, insurance, research, specific policy frameworks, a wider support and collaborative framework to ensure sustainable growth and investment in the agriculture sector of Uganda,”
Recent studies show that investment in agriculture continues to increase, but not as high as other sectors of the economy. Private Sector Credit to agriculture hovers between 12 pc and 13 pc compared to other sectors like trade, real estate well at over 19 pc and 20 pc respectively.
On the other hand, the government has yet to meet the 10 pc annual allocation for agriculture agreed under the 2003 Maputo Declaration. In the 2019/20 national budget agriculture is getting about three percent of total expenditure.
Mweheire said, “We would like as an industry to increase lending towards the agricultural sector through interventions that address risks inherent in agricultural financing and the undertaking of agriculture as a business with all the discipline required therein.”
Patricia Amito, UBA Head Communications and Corporate Affairs said, ‘The conference will focus on, making financing agriculture attractive to financial institutions leveraging on technology as an enabler to provide a range of support information required to unlock the potential in Uganda’s agriculture sector, and using growth and transformation in the agricultural sector and its related value chains to promote financial inclusion and decent youth employment.”
“ We expect over 500 participants including banking and non-bank financial sector executives, players from the insurance sector, international development partners and multi-lateral agencies, investment advisors, regulators, research associates and academia, policy makers, technocrats from governments, farmer groups and representatives from the various divisions of the agricultural sector including crop, animal, fisheries, forestry, poultry and the supporting service providers and players therein,” Amato said.