“Thanks to PALM for the linkage. I knew nothing about banks. I used to think banks and their loans were only for the educated but now I can actually borrow without any fear.”
PALM Corps implemented the finance for agriculture (F4A) project in west Nile region to address the challenges farmers or agribusinesses face in accessing finance from financial service providers (FSP) and also build capacity of the groups or farmers so that they become commercially viable and bankable. One of the key activities in the project is financial linkages of the groups to FSP in order to have access to finance. This helps to increase productivity and look at farming beyond food security.
One of the banks that was linked with the group is centenary rural development bank (CERUDEB) in which Mrs. Andezu Jane , a 36- year- old mother and a member of Anzuu farmers group in Arua district, got interested in CERUDEB agriculture loan. The linkage is done in such a way that the FSP are taken to the farmers’ premises to educate and sensitize the group members about bank loans.
Mrs. Jane who missed formal education got scared about how to get and finance the loan.
“I only stopped in primary four (P.4) and my worry was how to manage the whole process, but the agribusiness field officer from PALM Corps helped me a lot in making follow ups in the banks and my husband who is a civil servant gave me all his support by handling the paper work and signed as a guarantor.”
Before 2016, Jane used to have small production that could fetch her between 300,000 and 500,000 shillings in a season but she invested all the money she borrowed in production of tomatoes and onions and so managed to earn over 2 million shillings in one season. Currently, three of Jane’s children go to a private primary school. She was able to buy bikes for the children to go to school and she could get necessary household utensils for her home. Today, Mrs. Jane mentors her fellow farmers and encourages them not to fear going to borrow from banks especially when there are opportunities exposed to them through linkages.
“I am planning to borrow again this time more than the previous one to invest in production of tomatoes and onions and therefore encourage my fellow farmers to work together as a group to change our lives.”