January 4, 2016

Financial Success for Rwandan Farmers

*Written by  Benoit Mutabazi, Cooperative Coach

SPARK Rwanda is a proud supporter of KABKM, a cooperative of Rwandan farmers, who wonderfully received a capital by the UMUTANGUHA Finance Company. This achievement was made possible by SPARK Rwanda’s three year Cooperative Support Program, funded by the Dutch Government which supports cooperatives and SMEs working within agricultural value chains. The 5,000,000 Rwandan francs (6200.Euros) loan, granted to KABKM, was to fund the cooperative’s farming activities and was invested specifically into seeds and fertilizers.

Due to the existing traditional divides between Rwandan farmers and financial organizations, this is the first loan issued to KABKM in its five years of operations. This divide continues to be grounded on both a lack of mutual understanding and trust between farmers and financial institutions. SPARK Rwanda managed to overcome the traditional of divide in agriculture and financing in Rwanda: “Before SPARK, we were thinking these financial institutions are not [typically used by] farmers….. and we were extremely anxious to work with them”  (Theogene HavugamenshiI, President of KABKM)

SPARK continues to organise events, through which organizations such as KABIM can network to secure business deals such as the Agri-Pro Focus finance fair event, in partnership with SPARK Rwanda, which took place last year. In December 2015 SPARK in partnership with ICCO Terrafina, organized a ‘financial linkages meeting’. Finance workshops are provided by SPARK, alongside the coaching sessions in which mentors are assigned to each cooperative.

These projects have produced successful results as on August 15th 2015, KABKM paid back their 1st installment as stipulated by the loan contract, while the 2nd and last one will be paid in January 2016.  Through this positive experience, KABKM is planning to apply for an increased loan amount early next year to fund their farming activities and counts again on SPARK and CSP support. The progress by KABKM (one of 100 agricultural cooperatives targeted by the Cooperative Support Program (CSP) ) fuelled by SPARK Rwanda illustrates the achievements that can be made in access to finance for Rwandan farmers.