The Ministry of Finance Matia Kasaijja has said government intends to mobilise Shs100 billion to be given in loans to grain traders and cooperatives willing to buy and stock farmers’ excess maize that is currently going at between Shs150-250 per kilogram.
Minister Kasaija said on Wednesday at the Uganda Media Centre that government has in the meantime sourced Shs5 billion that the dealers can borrow at an interest rate of 15 per cent per annum to buy farmers’ maize at Shs500 per kilogram.
The money will be accessed b through the Agricultural Credit Facility (ACF) set up years ago by the government in partnership with commercial banks, Uganda Development Bank Micro Deposit Taking Institutions (MDIs) and Credit Institutions.
Eligible projects under the ACF include; acquisition of agricultural machinery, post-harvest handling equipment, storage facilities, agro processing, mechanization and any other related agricultural and agro-processing machinery and equipment.
Matia said government in partnership with the Central Bank, The Grain Council of Uganda and commercial banks would work to ensure that all the excess maize on the market is bought off and stocked by the buyers.
“The intervention will enable farmers across the country to sell existing maize stock at not less than Shs500 per kilogram,” the minister said, adding that the measure would also enable famers to prepare for the new season which has in some areas of the country.
Following good rains experienced after an extended drought in 2017, government offered hybrid maize seeds that enabled farmers to produce about five million estimated tons of maize last season, experts said.
After incurring losses, some farmers have vowed never to grow maize again, accusing government of failing to find market for their produce. Some farmers had to use loans to pay labourers, buy fertilisers and pesticides as well as paying for other operational costs such as security.
In Uganda is commonly produced in Kapchorwa, Iganga, Masindi, Mbale, Kiryandongo, Lira, Mubende, Kasese, Kamuli, Jinja and Kabarole districts.