KARONGI – The Ministry of Agriculture has warned agricultural experts in villages, to avoid requesting farmers for money before formulating standard project proposals.
Rhoda Rubaiza, an official in charge of agricultural financing at the ministry, said this shortly after meeting staff from different banks, consultants and representatives from the Private Sector Federation’s Business Development Services (BDS), over agricultural funding.
Her remarks however, followed reports by farmers that most consultants who advice farmers on writing proper project proposals, demand a standard fee before offering their expertise - which is contrary to the guidelines from the agriculture ministry.
“Farmers are unable to raise this fee and it gets worse if their projects are not eventually funded yet in most cases the consultants know this before hand,” Rubaiza, said.
The farmers also alleged that some consultants deliberately go ahead and design projects for farmers well aware that they cannot get funding.
Rubaiza encouraged the consultants to harmoniously work together with farmers and other stakeholders as a team for the purposes of ensuring that the farmers benefit from the second phase of the Rural Investment Facility (RIF2) which is currently underway.
David Rutambuka, the Director of PSF in charge of the western region also discouraged exploiting of farmers and pledged a close working relationship with farmers and the consultants.
“We shall continue to sensitise the farmers on how best to come up with good project proposals while we help the consultants to get strong businesses,” he said.