By Mark Kawalya
AgriConnect is a fintech solution that offers a lending and savings service to small-holder farmers in Uganda. The product, which is intended to facilitate digital financing for small-scale farmers, is the result of a partnership between the European Union, the Uganda Development Bank (UDB), Ensibuuko, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).
AgriConnect will also provide a platform under which Village Saving and Loans Associations (VSLAs) can digitally access short-term loans and savings services at rates that are reasonable enough to spur growth.
While speaking about the service, Patricia Ojangole, UDB’s managing director, said the fintech solution was created to disseminate credit to populations that do not have easy access to mainstream financial institutions.
“The aim for this pilot project is to reach at least 1,000 smallholder farmers as this will enable them to have access to digital loans to increase production, intensify food security, and boost household income,” said Ojangole.
According to Steven Kakonge, executive director at Ensibuuko Uganda, a local fintech, the service will be accessible to farmers wherever they are by using the digital lending process, which covers aspects like application, approval, and disbursement. Successful applicants will have the funds directly credited to their e-mobile wallet.
The pilot project will provide the solution providers with insights that can be scaled to impact at least 18,000 farmers at full cycle.
“As a development finance partner, we recognize such changes and make a deliberate effort to support inventions that influence the growth of key sectors of the economy like agriculture, which employs 68% of our population”, said Ojangole.
Evelyn Anite, the State Minister for Finance in charge of Investment and Privatization, pledged the government’s support and lauded Ensibuuko, UDB, UNCDF, FAO, and the EU for the role they are playing in the socio-economic transformation of Uganda.
“Over the last few decades, digitalization has transformed the global way of life, causing varied social and economic changes. Likewise, in Uganda, digitalization continues to take root and shape various sectors, specifically the financial services. AgriConnect will improve the success of smallholder farmers.” said Anite.