The private Sector Federation (PSF) has launched an agribusiness sourcing programme through which farmers will be educated on how to write business proposals that attract funding.
The programme will be conducted in all the 30 districts in the country for the next three months, and farmers who will come up with good proposals will be rewarded, according to the federation.
“The idea is to help farmers and investors engaged in production, processing, transportation, conservation, packaging and marketing of agricultural and livestock products to turn their ideas into fundable businesses,” Grace Umutoni, an entrepreneurship specialist at PSF, said.
She said, under the programme, they will engage banks to ease restrictions on access to agro-finance.
Eugene Rwabahima, a red pepper farmer in Muhanga District in the Southern Province, noted that the loan repayment period that banks give farmers is always short, making it impossible for them to acquire credit to grow their enterprises.
Rwabahima commended the programme, saying it will help farmers learn to refine business ideas and turn them into opportunities that can attract financing.
The programme is part of a four-year project funded by the Royal Embassy of The Netherlands in Rwanda under the Linking Farmers to Markets project. The project’s main objective is to build the capacity of Rwandan farmers, equip them with knowledge and skills to help them grow their businesses and become more competitive.
Financial institutions officials who attended the programme launch were optimistic an arrangement would be reached to enable farmers get funding for their projects.
The agriculture sector contributed 5.5 per cent to economic growth during the first quarter of this year on account of food crops and export crops, according to the National Institute of Statistics. Crop production in the first season of 2013 increased by 7.8 per cent compared to the 4.4 per cent recorded in the same period of last year.