Farm credit giving Omoro and Amuru women farmers a lifeline

OMORO – Dero-she capital, a local community-based organization (CBO) is helping more than 170 rural women in Amuru and Omoro districts to profitably engage in agriculture by extending farm credit to them.

Instead of cash, the organization gives farmers credit in form of services like ploughing and inputs or farm implements like seeds and hand hoes.

Innocent Piloya, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dero-she capital told theCooperator that most times, rural women have agribusiness ideas but lack support to implement them.

“What we do is lend them support like hire a tractor to plough land for them, give them seeds and hand hoes to engage in farming. We also help them look for market for the crops. We then recover the money after they have sold off their harvest,” Piloya said.

“Our organization does not give actual credit to the farmers because the money can end up being diverted elsewhere once received. Much as a farmer may want a hoe or seeds, they might have more urgent needs like transport or treatment so they could end up using the money for a different purpose,” she explained.

Piloya explained further that, before the farm credit is extended to the women, they are trained on good agronomic practices and business skills to help them transform from subsistence to commercial farming before they are given the farm credit.

“We want the women to sustain their households by being food secure and also be able to earn an income to cater for other basic needs like medical care and school fees among others,” she said.

Piloya said they are targeting to reach 10,000 farmers in the next five years and that the long-term goal is to see more children especially girls enrolled in school.

“Research has shown that rural families who can’t afford food will focus on getting food as a priority and neglect education, while families that have food to last a whole year, have their children attending school,” she explained.

Grace Obol, a resident of Barogal village, Koro sub-county in Omoro district one of the beneficiaries says, “Dero-she capital was able to plough two acres of land on which I planted soya beans. The proceeds helped me to pay school fees for my children. In the past, I was using less land because of relying on hand hoes,” she said.

Obol says that unlike financial institutions that demand for collateral before being given a loan, Dero-she capital only asked her to contribute 50% of what was needed such as labor to benefit from the farm credit.

“Banks want collateral yet the land I use for farming is customarily owned. Clan leaders do not allow us women to use the land as collateral because they fear that the bank can take it away in case we default on the loan,” Obol said.

Dero-she capital also gave her quality seeds and trained her to plant soya beans in lines instead of broadcasting.

Obol has now urged the government to include support of oxen and ox-ploughs to farmers in their livelihood programs like Operation Wealth Creation (OWC).

Doreen Ajok, another farmer in Koro sub-county, Omoro district said apart from the quality seeds, she was also trained by Dero-she capital on how to make organic chemicals.

“I don’t have to buy pesticides because I can now make organic chemicals from locally available plants. They also trained us on how to make organic manure,” she said.

Ajok is however disappointed that the prices for soya beans dropped drastically last year making her to earn much less than she expected.

“I was expecting to earn at least Shs 2500 per kilogram of soya beans but I ended up selling each kilogram at Shs 900,” said Ajok who harvested 2 bags of soya beans.

However, Dero-she capital says, they are now working to build a store to bulk the produce so that farmers sell at better prices.

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