Over 250 international and local agricultural experts will converge at Kigali’s Marriott Hotel from August 1 to 3 in a conference to review best practices and how they can be shared to benefit more people.
The meeting is organised by African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA) in partnership with the Rwanda Development Bank (BRD), the Ministry of Agriculture, and Access to Finance Rwanda.
The Chief Executive Officer of BRD, Alex Kanyankole told journalists at a news conference, yesterday, that even though Rwanda joined AFRACA only three years ago, the bank had already started reaping benefits from its membership.
“Joining AFRACA has helped us to share knowledge, and compare notes and benchmarks with other institutions from the rest of the world. It is helping us to manage our agricultural lending portfolio and we are gaining a lot of insight on what we should be doing and how we can make it better,” he said.
The CEO of Business Development Fund (BDF) Innocent Bulindi, explained how the fund, whose products includes providing collateral and securities for borrowers, helps farmers who cannot come up with collateral.
He pointed out that BDF so far has 1,780 people who have all been helped to a tune of about Rwf31 billion.
“That is a guarantee of about Rwf18m per loan, which, generally speaking, is still in the SME range. There have been bigger ones that mostly go to cooperatives. The bulk of beneficiaries we have supported are small holder farmers,” he said.
On grants, Bulindi said that the fund has supported about 15700 people and their main target has been small holder farmers.
“The average amount for each grant has been Rwf3m which is still very small. What grant programmes are there to do is to reduce the burden of high interest rates. We cannot give you a grant unless there is a loan,” he said.
On the sidelines of the conference, a training of trainers session on agricultural value chain is also scheduled to take place.