Access to finance for small rural farmers
More than 15,000 farmers in southwest Uganda are members of the MAMIDECOT (Masaka Microfinance & Development Cooperative Trust Limited), which is a savings and loan cooperative. Rabobank Foundation has supported MAMIDECOT with a working-capital loan, to ensure that the cooperative can continue to provide affordable credit to its members and allow farmers to invest in their farms and raise their income.
MAMIDECOT has launched an Agricultural Extension Program to educate farmers in addition to improving their access to finance. An agri officer has been appointed who visits farms and provides personalized advice to farmers. They learn how to partner with other farmers so as to market their products as a collective, how to make their products more marketable and other essential skills. In addition, they also receive advice on suitable agricultural methods and guidelines for the use of inputs such as fertilizer and pesticides. Farmers can use the newfound knowledge they acquire through training courses and the advice they receive to increase the size and quality of their food production, thereby helping to improve food security in the region.
One of the fields of a so-called lead-farmer gives other farmers the opportunity to see various cultivation techniques in practice. For example, they learn to sow in lines and add fertilizers to rejuvenate soil fertility.
This farmer is happy about how the bean field looks like. Although she was hesitant to start the project because she did not have funds. An agricultural adviser motivated her to acquire an Agricultural loan from MAMIDECOT. Now she has a great harvest with which she can increase food security for her family, pay school fees for the children and repay the loan to MAMIDECOT.