Bank of Kigali (BK) has introduced two new agriculture finance products as part of its commitment to finance the agricultural sector. The bank’s intervention is timely given that the agriculture sector is often regarded as a high-risk financing sector with many business people decrying the lack of access to credit from the banks, yet the sector holds a bigger share of the economic activities in the country, with more than 70 percent women engaged in it. Alexis Bizimana, the Head of Agri-business in Bank of Kigali said that the two products - Coffee Working Capital and Agriculture Inventory Facility-aim to finance coffee industry, and aggregators / processors of food crops. “The Coffee Working Capital product targets coffee value chain actors, especially the traders that collect coffee cherries from farmers and process them into green coffee for export,” he said. On the other hand, the “Agriculture Inventory Facility” targets different value chain actors in rice, maize, soybean and other cereals. This product is a cutting-edge financial tool enabling farmers to leverage their agricultural produce and inventory for crucial investment and liquidity, ensuring timely capital access and creating a win-win for both farmers and investors. “This product uses the harvest as collateral. Up to 70 per cent of the harvest serves as collateral. To get finance from the two products you must have suppliers, good relationships with farmers, equipment to collect the harvest, buyers of the processed goods, and warehouses with required standards among others,” he said. Bizimana said by the end of 2022, Rwf 5 Billion agriculture finance had been distributed in these value chains. “Now we are about to reach Rwf40 billion and next year we target to reach Rwf70 billion. That is a huge growth in one year. Bank of Kigali is also focusing on women finance. We have women's finance products. We are mulling over a women finance unit,” he said. Bank of Kigali has committed to provide Rwf150 billion financing to businesses involved in the agricultural sector in the next three to five years. He urged farmers to increase production to meet the demand of BK-financed aggregators. “The products are creating demand for more agricultural produce and therefore farmers should increase production. We urge farmers to also embrace agriculture insurance,” he said. Casmir Habarurema, The Managing Director of Kabila Coffee Company Ltd, said that he got Rwf1 billion loan from the BK’s new financing product dubbed “Coffee Working Capital.” The company collects coffee cherries and processes it for export. “We have both local and export markets. The financing from BK products is ensuring a stable market for farmers and cooperatives we work with. We were collecting coffee cherries from three districts. With financing from the Bank of Kigali, we are operating across the whole country. We are working with 27 farmers’ cooperatives and 2,700 farmers,” he said. The company processes 3,000 tonnes of coffee per year. “We have to support farmers so that production increases. Last week, we produced and distributed 600,000 coffee seeds to farmers. This year we target 700,000 coffee seeds. We have a target to increase the number thanks to the financing from Bank of Kigali,” he said.