Post Bank Uganda trains more than 100 farmers on loan management in Acholi Sub Region

GULU – More than 100 farmers from various farmer groups and cooperatives in Acholi sub-region have been trained on loan management skills by Post Bank Uganda.

The one-day training held at Boma Hotel in Gulu city, was aimed at boosting agricultural productivity and a savings culture among farmers.

Jimmy Ocen, the Manager in charge of lending at Post Bank Uganda, while addressing the farmers said, most farmers who borrow loans for farming instead divert the money to other things like buying land and building houses among others.

“Most times people get a loan and divert its purpose. We are trying to show them that you can actually get a loan and pay it back comfortably if you put it in the right purpose, if you choose a profitable enterprise.”

He said on several occasions, when they carry out monitoring visits of farmers who have borrowed loans to engage in farming, they find no activity on the ground.

The farmers were also encouraged to embrace insurance for their crops against natural disasters like floods, drought and hailstorms.

“Agricultural insurance is very cheap at only 5%. The government even subsidizes it by paying 2.5%.

Simon Opiyo, the Chairperson Paicho Central Kal Growers Cooperative acknowledged that farmers indeed divert loan money to other projects hence leading to their failure.

He however said, that the training was timely and would help farmers increase their production.

Santa Abwot, a farmer from Amuru district said that they did not know about Agricultural insurance yet they have been suffering losses due to floods and drought.

In Gulu district alone, food crops worth Shs 2.6 billion was lost in hailstorms in three sub-counties of Bungatira, Awach and Pukony in the month of July 2021, according to a report from the district.

It’s estimated that 2, 215 acres of crops like maize, beans, cassava, millet, soy bean, ground nuts, potatoes, bananas and tree seedlings were destroyed in hailstorms.

In a request to the Office of the Prime Minister in charge of Emergency Assistance, Gulu Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Okaka Geoffrey stated that the crops would have yielded 2,745 tones if the hailstorms had not destroyed them.

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France offers Uganda a grant worth Shs 286b for extension water services in Isingiro district

ISINGIRO – The French government has offered Uganda a grant totaling 69M Euros (about Shs 286b) in a bid to extend water services in Isingiro district.

The funding to build a water project in Isingiro district was allocated through the French government’s agency Françoise de Development (AFD).

The money was received by the Uganda Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija and the French Ambassador to Uganda, Stephanie Rivoal and witnessed by the National Water Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) Executive Director, Engineer Silver Mugisha.

According to Mugisha, the funds are intended to construct water supply systems in 15 sub-counties and 8 Town Councils in Isingiro district.

He adds that the funding is a fulfilment of part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in 2019 between France and Uganda to improve water supply in Kampala and South Western Uganda.

Mugisha said that the project when completed, will address the water supply challenges in districts of Isingiro, Mbarara, Masaka and the surrounding areas.

“Congratulations to NWSC, this is a milestone and it should go a long way in addressing water stressed areas in Isingiro district,” says Mugisha.

The French Ambassador in his remarks said, AFD has committed more than 1billion Euros over the last 20 years with 200 Euros committed in 2018 alone in an effort to support Uganda’s sustainable and equitable development in water, sanitation, energy, environment and climate change, as well as strengthening the private sector.

Rivoal added that access to water and good sanitation is a major contribution to human development.

Speaking to Jeremiah Kamurari, the former Chairman Isingiro district, welcomed the project stressing that the district had never received any piped water in the area.

“All the other districts in Western Uganda have some water supplies either from national water or gravity but it has been only Isingiro where there is no single water supply scheme in the district,” Kamurari explained.

He is however worried that if the project is not monitored well, the money will be stolen by unscrupulous civil servants in the country.

“We have big worries always accompanied by bigger projects like this one. So, we expect that if there is no involvement of IGG, DPP and other related institutions, we are likely to have half of the money for the project swindled,” Kamurari emphasized.

He therefore appealed to the Inspector General of Government (IGG) to be part of the supervision such that, there is effective supervision to guarantee that the money will be put to proper use because of the rate of corruption that has ruined the country.

“Our call goes to the National Water and Sewerage Cooperation and Ministry of Water to ensure that there is constant supervision and monitoring to ensure that the money is put to its intended use. Even the local leaders in the area should be vigilant to ensure that this money is not squandered,” said Kamurari

According to Aaron Turahi, the current Chairman Isingiro district, the water project was contracted last month to BRL Ingeniere Company.

He appealed to the contractor to employ the locals so that they can also benefit from the project.

“We agreed that 70% should be our locals from Isingiro district who should be employed in non-technical works,” Turahi said.

He says the water project in the district is a fulfilment of the presidential pledge while he was last campaigning in Isingiro.

“This does not just come to us but it was the president who promised water to the people of Isingiro. And it will basically be used for irrigation, production and animal feeding where we shall no longer register death of people’s animals because of drought as you have always seen during the dry spell,” LC V Boss explained.

My role is to welcome each and every project that is coming in the district and to see that there must be a sustainability of that project, added Turahi.

He also encouraged proper monitoring for quality water project in the district.

“As a district we are involved and we shall ensure that the project is done successfully because we are the overall supervisors and monitors of the project in the district. And whoever comes here to do shoddy work, we shall deal with him because we are already served with bills of quantities,” Turahi said.

The water project in Isingiro will be implemented in line with Uganda’s vision 2040 which highlights access to clean piped water for all and the National Development Plan.

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