Statement to IFADs 25th Session of the Governing Council by Hon. Dr Kisamba Mugerwa, Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries of Uganda
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Statement to IFAD's 25th Session of the Governing Council by Hon. Dr Kisamba Mugerwa, Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries of Uganda
Mr Chairman, Distinguished Governors, Mr President, Excellencies, Friends of Uganda, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for the privilege of addressing this very distinguished council and I bring you greetings from the President, Government and the People of Uganda.
Uganda has registered significant macro-economic achievements over the last decade. These have been characterised by:
a) GDP growth rates averaging about 6%,
b) Inflation at less than 5% per annum,
c) Increase in per capita income from about US$ 150 to US$ 330,
d) A competitive and stable exchange rate regime,
e) Foreign currency reserves at about 5 months of imports of goods and services.
Despite the above achievements,
a) Over 80 percent of the population live in rural areas derive their livelihoods from farm and non -farm activities,
b) About 35% of the population live below the poverty line; only about 10% have access to financial services
Government has made the fight against hunger and the poverty reduction as the central themes of her programmes through:
a) Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) which is Uganda's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP)
b) The Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture (PMA), which constitutes Uganda's rural development strategy,
c) The Medium Term Competitiveness Strategy for private sector growth and development, and
d) The Government's Interventions to promote the production, processing and marketing of selected strategic Exports, which is to be developed into Uganda's export strategy.
Experiences with Government's attempts to deliver credit have not been successful. Examples include the Rural Farmers Scheme (RFS) and the Entandikwa Credit Scheme (ECS) through which a lot of money was lost through low recovery rates. This is partly why we have the proposed rural microfinance outreach scheme and in pursuit of this we are formulating with IFAD and others a proper fitting mechanism for micro-finance delivery.
Furthermore, Uganda National Capacity Building Framework (UCAP) has been developed to provide Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) with access to high quality training by certified private sector capacity building suppliers. In order to facilitate access to these services, a Matching Grant Facility, which recognises the different levels of maturity of the MFIs in Uganda, has been proposed. The MFIs have to fulfil the eligibility and funding criteria in order to access the facility. Whereas some rural areas, such as Karamoja and some parts of northern Uganda, are considered unviable for commercially run MFIs due to insecurity and limited economic activities, many rural areas are expected to support and benefit from increased access and availability of commercial credit facilities.
In conclusion, due to time constraint, I wish to use this opportunity to inform that Uganda heartily wishes to thank IFAD, the Belgian Survival Fund and its many other partner friends for the support and cooperation rendered so far. It is partly in recognition of this that Uganda has already paid its contribution to IFAD replenishments. Uganda will continue to need assistance from the Fund and remains committed to a firm collaborative relationship with IFAD to help the rural poor, especially women in the fight against hunger and poverty.