Agago farmers embrace financial literacy, now keeping their money in the bank

By Moses Sserwanga

For many farmers of Agago  , financial literacy and  banking is a new phenomenon  since many of them had never  even entered a banking hall . The farmers in this remote district of Agago in northern Uganda keep their money under their mattress  a practice which does not encourage saving and investment .

As a  result ,the farmers  continue to wallow in  poverty with little or nor savings at all.  This  problem however ,may soon be history following a campaign by Bank of Africa to extend financial services to the remote parts of the country.

A new  Bank of Africa branch has been set up in Patongo Kalongo in Agago district to encourage farmers save money to accelerate agricultural  business growth.  According  to Mr. Paul Tonny Ekwang  Bank of Africa branch manager  ,the bank made  the decision to set up the branch with support from aBi Trust to demystify the use of the phrase “lack of cash flow” among the farmers.

“  We want the farmers to take advantage of the available  resources such as  Ox-plough, bulls, ample land , human resource  synergy to generate income for themselves and their businesses. That’s  why we are training farmers in financial literacy   which covers book keeping, the importance of  banking , available financial products to  boost agricultural production and marketing among other,” Ekwang says.

Four hundred  and eighty ( 480) farmers in selected business member groups  have been  trained  in Lira Palwo, Omot, Omiya Pacwa sub counties and Patongo and Kalongo town councils. “ The purpose of the training was to equip community beneficiaries  with knowledge  on basic  records keeping and financial management, value addition so that good quality  farm produce  is taken to the market. That way , farmers earn much more and grow their capacity to save and take advantage of other available financial opportunities within the banking sector,” he  explains.

Ekwang said that after the training farmers are in position to  determine their cash sales and have cash record book kept for each member. Farmers are also able to take on agriculture as a business which leads to increased  sales of agriculture produce.

The  farmers are also encouraged to approach the Bank of Africa branches in Patongo and Kalongo to open and maintain bank accounts, access loan facilities  during planting , harvesting and  marketing agricultural produce to increase income .

The bank manager was encouraged to note that following the training farmers who had hitherto never entered a banking hall have come up to open bank accounts. We have realized shs.31m in deposits from new clients .

The bank has also helped farmers to bring financial services near to them. People had to travel long distance to access a bank in Pader district.   With support from aBi Trust , the bank managed to open a new branch in Patongo,  bought  motor cycles they use to  travel to the villages to mobilise and train farmers in financial matters.

Challenges :

Because of trauma resulting from the two decade LRA war some farmers fear to approach the bank because of the armed police guards.

70% of the farmers  want to open a Dero (personal ) accounts  but  do not have  photos, identity cards and LC letters which are some of the requirements for opening up an account . 


Writer is a media and communications consultant And Advocate of the High Court of Uganda

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