Housing Finance Bank Lending To Agriculture Input Businesses

housing finance bank, agribusiness loans, agriculture loans uganda, east africa

USAID Feed the Future Agriculture Inputs Activity facilitated the Bank management to network with the agriculture input sector players and as a result, the board appreciated the financing gaps and resolved to venture into agriculture lending.

 “The interaction with the agriculture input players was my turning point as it gave me information about agriculture inputs business that I did not know” Says Patrice Ocungirwoth the head of Agriculture Lending at Housing Finance Bank

Housing Finance Bank has embraced financing of agricultural input businesses (a hitherto no-go area for most financial institutions in Uganda) following interactions with Feed the Future Uganda Agricultural Inputs Activity.

Patrice goes ahead to indicate that Housing Finance Bank comprehends that financing needs for agriculture inputs is not the same way for other sectors along the value chains. He cites an example of seed production business as a process that does not take one season or even one year. This makes it unique and therefore financing such a business requires a clear understanding of the revenue cycle.

“When you talk about agriculture lending, most banks management thinks about agriculture production. They rarely see beyond the farmer and this has made the sector unreachable by the commercial financial services”Says Patrice.

The Housing Finance Bank also comprehended the markets for agriculture input businesses and the challenges that agriculture input players face in the market as opportunities for financing

This has put the bank at a strategic level of dealing with the players in the agriculture input sector in Uganda

“As a Bank, Feed the Future Uganda Agricultural Inputs Activity has enabled us discover that there are many bankable projects within the agricultural inputs sector. Management has thus focused on supporting lending to the agriculture input sector as the future of the bank agriculture lending portfolio” Says Patrice.

“We have one big client that we financed to establish a seed processing plant and had it not been the facilitation of USAID Feed the Future Uganda Agriculture inputs Activity, we would have isolated that client” Patrice adds.

Patrice Ocungirwoth, the Head of Agricultural Funding at Housing Finance Bank. He says Feed the Future Uganda Agricultural Inputs Activity has helped the Bank discover many bankable projects within the agricultural inputs sub sector.

Due to the success that the agriculture lending department has registered, Housing Finance Bank management is motivated and thinking strategically about how the bank will scale up lending to the agriculture inputs sector the foundation of farming business.

Linking agricultural input dealers to financial networks is a core output of the Feed the Future Uganda Agricultural Inputs Activity.

With Banks such as Housing Finance Bank buying into funding inputs businesses it is certain that benchmarking access and availability of quality agricultural inputs to Uganda’s farmers and fighting counterfeits inputs will become a reality.

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