The uptake of technology in Uganda’s agriculture sector is going up according to Equity Bank Uganda Managing Director Samuel Kirubi.
Kirubi, who was recently discussing a topic of leveraging on technology/digital infrastructure to revolutionize the agricultural chain in Uganda at the 2019 Annual Banker’s Conference said the advancement in technology has quickened the flow of goods and services from farmers to processors.
“Movement in technology uptake in agriculture in Uganda is moving very fast. Like at Equity Bank, we have recruited farmers to become merchants where close to 10,000 tea out-growers in Fort portal and Kasese have been assisted to know whether their payments are ready in their bank accounts through SMS on their mobile phones,” said Kirubi.
He said they have tried to de-cash the communities around that region with now around 90,000 refugees owning bank accounts.
Kirubi, however, called for the unlocking of the challenges surrounding mutual financial management in the Dairy sector with 70% of the business done by middlemen.
He said there is a need to create booster teams to help create awareness about the digital trail, liquidity management and educate many rural agents the purpose of financial inclusion.
“We have so far invested $2 million in agriculture financing with over 70,000 farmers in Kakira have their loans processed by Equity Bank and are digital. Ush250 billion is moved by agent banking every month with our Eazzy Banking App attracting 50,000 downloads and 20,000 transactions a day,” said Kirubi.
Wilbrod Owor the Executive Director of Uganda Banker’s Association said they are working closely with the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development together with other partners to finalize the National Agriculture Finance Policy and Strategy.
“The policy aims at improving timeliness, regularity, relevance and coordination of policy response to the financing issues and needs of the Agribusiness sector. It intends to strengthen the institutional and human capacity of financial services providers and their clients, for effective development, delivery and usage of agribusiness finance products and services,” said Owor.