Kampala, Uganda | Julius Businge | About 500 people are expected to attend the 3rd Annual Bankers Conference to be held at Kampala Serena Hotel on July 16.
The Uganda Bankers Association (UBA), an umbrella organisation for all commercial banks is the overall organiser of the conference that will carry the theme ‘de-risking financing and investment in agriculture to promote decent youth employment and inclusive growth’.
Speaking to journalists on July 02 at UBA headquarters in Muyenga – located a few kilometres out of Kampala city – Wilbrod Owor, the UBA executive director said, the conference participants will deliberate on the challenges, opportunities that the agriculture sector faces in Uganda and suggest possible solutions.
“Its (agriculture) impact can be big if tapped into,” Owor said. “Increasing our product offering to the sector is top on our agenda,” he added when asked what banks were doing to boost the sector’s growth.
Patrick Mweheire, the UBA chairman said the discussion will partly focus on how banks can increase lending to the sector which account for 12-13% of the total loans disbursed by banks to different sectors.
Other sectors like trade and real estate account for 19-20% of the total loans given out by banks. “We are not happy with that,” he said when asked whether they were okay with the percentage of loans banks were giving to players in the sector.
He said that they are working towards embracing partnerships with government and other private sector players and development partners to grow the sector beyond financing it as banks.
“That is the alarm bell we are ringing,” he said. Agriculture sector accounts for approx. 20% of Uganda’s GDP and employs between 70-80% of the total population.
By dealing with the challenges that the sector faces, experts in this area say, more opportunities like descent jobs would be created to support efforts geared towards curbing urban crime and lawlessness.
The sector is considered by among risky ones – because it is regularly hit by drought, pests and diseases and more.
Other agriculture sector issues that participants will look at include market incentives, use of technology, insurance offering, research and specific policy frameworks to guide sector operations.