In a bid to empower farmers, Duterimbere Microfinance with its partners, Umutara Community Resource and Infrastructure Development Project (UCRIDP) and Rwanda Development Organization (RDO), have set aside Rwf 120 million to be accessed as loans by farmers in Nyagatare, Gatsibo and Kayonza District while using their harvest as guarantee.
The scheme is currently running in Nyagatare District, but according to Duterimbere, it will officially be launched in Gatsibo and Kayonza Districts before the end of the year.
According to Appolinaire Rutabairu, Duterimbere branch manager for the three districts, only maize, rice and soybeans are accepted as guarantees by the microfinance because they take longer to perish than other agricultural products.
“The farmers’ harvest is stored in a warehouse for 6 months until the loan is repaid. In the meantime, we also help the farmers by locating markets for them,” Rutabairu said in an interview.
“When farmers apply for a loan as a cooperative, we give them a maximum of Rwf 20million, but when they come as individuals, we don’t exceed 10 million”.
He also revealed that the credit system will be launched next year in January in Kirehe District to aid pineapple farmers in the region.
“On top of the credit system, Duterimbere has also been facilitating mushroom farmers in Rwamagana District; they signed a contract with us stating that they would repay after the harvest,” he said.
The Minister of Agriculture, Agnes Kalibata, commended the system last week during her tour of Nyagatare maize farmers’ cooperative and urged farmers to quickly take advantage of the opportunity.