Local farmers who take loans to fund projects that represent investments along the agricultural chain will soon receive grants to boost their businesses, authorities have said.
The grants which will be dispatched through the Central Bank of Rwanda (BNR) are part of the second rural investment facility (RIF 2) programme worth USD10m that is aimed at providing incentives for farmers to make investments in agriculture.
The programme targets investments which include construction of animal housing, purchase of agricultural production equipment, land acquisition and improvement of storage and transport facilities according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI).
Senior government officials who directly or indirectly influence the operation of the facility or their immediate family members will be excluded as beneficiaries.
Speaking at the launch of RIF 2 yesterday, Agnes Kalibata, the State Minister of Agriculture urged farmers and financial institutions to embrace the programme.
“If you embrace the programme, you will be obliged to meet new clients and all banks and other financial institutions should readily work to improve agriculture which is the biggest contributor to our economy,” Kalibata said at the function that took place in Kigali.
She pledged that her ministry will strive to ensure that all the stakeholders in the project meet the required standards by assisting the potential beneficiary in the preparation of the loan applications and monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the RIF 2.
MINAGRI recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Private Sector Federation (PSF) to facilitate the initiative.
BNR governor Francois Kanimba said that money was available and urged farmers to effectively exploit the opportunity that will help improve their lives and businesses.
“In this project we are working in partnership with the World Bank under stipulated agreements but the limits of the guidelines before acquiring the loan and eventual grant can be revised, and the bank covers 100 percent of the financial risks,” Kanimba said.
As part its of plan to modernise agriculture through mechanisation, the Ministry received a technological boost from the South Korean agricultural equipment supplier, Tongyang Mooisan LTD.
It also announced that it is in the process of mechanising agriculture in order to increase farm output, as the sector moves towards using powered machinery instead of manpower. The programme is set to kick off in September this year.
The ministry entered an agreement with Tongyang Mooisan LTD in April this year.
The contract states that the Korean firm will supply up to 100 tractors, 100 trailers, 1034 sowing equipments, 1000 iron wheels, 140 potato harvesters and 10 combine harvesters.