More farmers will be able to access funding from KCB Bank Rwanda following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the lender, the Rwanda Grain and Cereals Corporation (RGCC) and the Eastern Africa Grains Council (EAGC) on Wednesday.
The deal between the three entities seeks to make it easier for grain farmers working with RGCC to get agro-finance from KCB to support their agribusiness projects, Maurice Toroitich, the managing director KCB Rwanda, said.
The deal signing event was witnessed by regional representatives in the grain value chain from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
Toroitich said the partnership will promote agribusiness and enhance grain production in the country, adding that it is one of the bank’s initiatives aimed at improving the welfare of local farmers.
“Under the partnership, smallholder farmers will receive credit to invest in their agriculture activities, which will open a new frontier for them to increase productivity and boost the country’s GDP and their standards of living,” Toroitich told The New Times.
He challenged banks that are still reluctant to fund the sector because of the perceived risks to instead harness such challenges to create opportunities for themselves and farmers.
Speaking at the Wednesday deal signing ceremony in Kigali, Eugene Rwibasira, the chairman of RGCC, said grain farmers in Rwanda still lack access to agriculture inputs, adding that other challenges, like poor infrastructure and limited financing, were affecting the productivity of the sector.
“I hope that with this partnership, grain production will increase significantly.
“I commend KCB Bank and the Eastern Africa Grain Council for the bold step taken and commitment to invest in agribusiness and promoting agriculture in Rwanda and on the continent. I am hopeful that this partnership will transform the agriculture industry and improve the livelihoods of grain farmers in the country,” Rwibasira said.
Initially, the partnership will benefit 67 farmer co-operatives working with the Rwanda Grains and Cereals Corporation, but will later be scaled up to cover the whole country.
Gerald Makau Masila, the Eastern Africa Grain Council executive director, was optimistic the partnership with KCB will strengthen efforts aimed at revamping grain production in Rwanda.
“Africa’s future is in agriculture because the sector contributes significantly to the GDP of most countries on the continent. That’s why partnerships like this one are important as they will help modernise agriculture sector and boost production,” Masila said.
He added that farmers will be assured of better markets for their produce, ensuring a sustainable source of income to improve their standards of living.