Wednesday, July 27, 2016

GROWING CONFIDENCE IN AGRICULTURAL LENDING



GROWING CONFIDENCE IN AGRICULTURAL LENDING
By Moses Paul Sserwanga
Media/communications Consultant
Advoacte of High Court of Uganda

A new World Bank report “Growing Africa: Unlocking the Potential of Agribusiness,” says that Africa’s farmers and agribusinesses could create a trillion-dollar food market by 2030 if they can expand their access to more capital, electricity, better technology and irrigated land to grow high-value nutritious foods.

The potential of agriculture to reduce poverty and catalyse development in Africa is appealing but the reality to date points to several factors impeding African agribusiness and market development. In Uganda, the Agricultural Business Initiative Trust (aBi Trust[1]) currently in its third year of operation has identified low smallholder agricultural productivity, inadequate agricultural finance, poor marketing strategies and inadequate trade opportunities as factors that are holding back that potential.

This is in addition to inadequate storage facilities and assembling points, limited agro-processing and manufacturing (low value-addition activities), less consultative government policy formulation and policy reversals, poor quality standards of agricultural commodities, and slow pace of agricultural export diversification.
The financing for agriculture in Uganda has improved over the last several years as illustrated by the growing confidence of institutions that have worked with different partners to improve financial services for agribusiness. However, a lot still has to be accomplished.

FINCA Uganda Limited (MDI) was the first licensed Microfinance Deposit-taking Institution (MDI) in 2004; it provides life-changing financial services to Uganda's lowest-income entrepreneurs with the aim of creating jobs, building assets, and improving their standard of living.
In January 2010, FINCA Uganda signed onto the Agribusiness Loan Guarantee Scheme, under aBi Trust.  In its three years of operation, FINCA Uganda’s has registered remarkable overall performance on the scheme standing out in terms of volume and value of loans. It is this performance that formed the basis for raising the MDI’s limit to accommodate its wide scope of financial products. It is important to note that due to a slowdown in the economy and particularly difficult market conditions, 2012 was not a good year for the financial sector. 
The regulated financial services sector faced some challenges that led to a slower than anticipated growth coupled with changes in technology to help improve its efficiency.It specifically recorded a decline in portfolio quality; illustrated by an increase in the ratio of NPA from 1.6 in June 2011 to 3.9 in June 2012, a deterioration that was largely driven by the construction sector.
A positive lending trend, however small, in a sector which is still perceived to be one of the riskiest in the financial services industry has had a positive impact and led to some tangible results. aBi Trust Annual Report 2012 records several success stories that point to change in attitude among financial institutions. This increase in confidence goes hand in hand with some other positive trends such as competitiveness and investment as the following case study that profiles Mr. Willy Oloya illustrates.
A Trader’s Tale
Mr. Willy Oloya is a trader and rice processor with over 22 years ‘experience in the rice trade. A resident of Gulu in Northern Uganda, Willy Oloya has other agricultural interests including maize and oil seeds to a smaller extent though his primary trade is in rice.

Oloya opened his account with FINCA in 2009. At the time he had a 10 ton rice huller machine and wanted to access credit to acquire a 60 ton rice huller machine to build a rice factory. His asset base and profits have since grown from USh 10M to USh 50M. As the demand for rice grew Mr. Oloya quickly recognized that he did not have the capacity to open up more land for the raw material, and that he would have to rely on the farmer communities to produce and supply to him. In order to sustain his growing business Willy has collaborated with several farmer groups, which he has categorized according to the volumes they deliver. In turn, he has linked other commercial farmers to FINCA to access credit to increase productivity.

Trading as M/S NILE SAFARI MILLERS, Oloya reports that the loan has enabled rice production financing at different stages hence increasing rice output and production from 25,000 metric tons (2011)  to 200,000 metric tons (2012) since he works with many more suppliers than those he has linked to the MDI. He currently associates with 2,280 members from 108 farmer groups, located in three Districts of Gulu, Amuru and Nwoya to whom he provides the following services:
         i.            Identifies stage at which they are for most suitable financing needs;
       ii.            Supports their crop selection process, primarily rice which has more stable prices than other cereals e.g. maize;
      iii.            Has a permanent staff to provide farmers with relevant information on the enterprise they are promoting;
     iv.            Hires consultants and Agricultural extension workers to guide farmers on best practices in rice production and post-harvest handling trainings and advice;
       v.            Avails farmers small machinery at a fee to support the land opening process;
     vi.            Provides, at a fee, hulling and storage facilities.

To ensure that he is the farmers’ primary trader, Mr. Oloya has set up buying centers nearer to where the groups are located and contracts farmers on a seasonal commission basis. In addition, he offers farmers other services like planting, weeding, harvesting, storage and marketing. He states that these interventions explain why 99% of the farmers fulfill their commitments to him.
The farmer groups identified by Mr. Oloya are in turn approached by the MDI which trains them three to four times on various aspects of agribusiness - saving, accessing finances and record keeping. It also appraises them for facilities which are sometimes simultaneously done with the training. Finally, the MDI identifies those who are ready for financing either in groups or individually and finances them.
In 2012, 16 groups were identified by Mr. Oloya, out of which the MDI financed 10 groups with 292 members, with the rest being further developed. Out of these groups, five[2] were visited and the findings from the visits are mixed results.



Thursday, July 14, 2016

FINANCING VALUE CHAINS 2013

FINANCING VALUE CHAINS  2013
By Moses Sserwanga
Media/Communications specialist
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 . 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

MBABAZI VERSUS MUSEVENI 2016 PRESIDENTIAL PETITION : SUPREME COURT MUST EXPOUND ON THE SUBSTANTIALITY TES PRINCIPLE



 MBABAZI VERSUS MUSEVENI 2016 PRESIDENTIAL PETITION  :

SUPREME COURT MUST EXPOUND ON THE SUBSTANTIALITY TEST PRINCIPLE

Counsel for the petitioner Byamukama and first respondent Kiwanuka kiryowa made us proud at the bar in their closing arguments in the Mbabazi vs Museveni & Ors presidential petition.

Their clarity of thought and being alive to the facts and law was quite exemplary .I mean ,as lawyers we don’t know the law but we know where to find it -those two , plus our seniour head of the bar, Mwesigwa Rukutana ,about whether AG should be joined in election petitions as a party and Oryem who still argued the substantiality element on behalf of the 1st respondent -stood out in the 2016 election petition.

In my view, there is still a grey area about the issue of substantiality and I’m confident their lordship will definitely deal with it and pronounce themselves in order to grow our jurisprudence. We await their verdict on March 31,2016. Otherwise , for the rest of the issues framed ,I concur with my learned brothers submissions for the respondents .

And in judicial processes ,lets stay clear of partisan political interests . That’s why i stated at the onset of this judicial matter - that we should all submit to their lordship’s wise counsel.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

THE NEW VISION MARKED 30 YEARS AND WE WERE THERE-edited
The New Vision Marked 30 years
I was privileged to have served at The New Vision straight from school when I joined as an intern at the age of 22 and worked there for 8 years as a war correspondent, Bureau chief in charge of South western Uganda based in Fort Portal Kabarole district and Editor.
SERVICE TO MY COUNTRY
Back in the day, I was embedded with the then most feared Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) fighting unit –the battle hardened , crack mobile, 3rd battalion, commanded by the late (RIP) Major Sula Ssemakula “Suicide” . I covered the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebellion in western Uganda for The New vision as a war Correspondent for four years (1996-2000) and there were battles fought in kyaka , Fort Portal ,Bunyangabu, Buryaha, in the then vast Kabarole district;to Kamwenge to Mbarara to Kanungu and the mountainous areas of Kasese and Bundibugyo; to Hoima , Masindi, Mubende and Kibale. We ended up in Eastern DR Congo where we encountered the bloody battles of Kisangani mojja and Kisangani mbirri. The ADF rebels attacked katojo prisons in Fort Portal ,killed and released prisoners, attacked and killed close to 100 students at Kichwamba Technical Institute in Kabarole, cut off Bundibugyo , Bwera and Mponde border areas . They maimed , rapped ,defiled women and girls and killed hundreds of innocent civilians- raiding villages and displacing hundreds of thousands of people. But they (rebels)were still defeated. The war on the Ugandan side ended around 2000 and I headed back to my employer- The New Vision’s headquarters in the Capital Kampala and was appointed Editor in charge of rural news. I later went on to serve in the same capacity at the Daily Monitor . I also edited the Saturday and Sunday Monitor (2004-2010) after the ‘big walk out at NV’ in May 2004 (which changed the media landscape in Uganda forever) led by Conrad Nkutu and JB Wasswa, who became the Managing Director and Managing Editor at the Monitor (that equally important institution for free , independent private media), respectively. We were the first ‘outsiders’ to serve at Daily Monitor after the founders ,Wafula Ogutu, David Balikowa, Kevin Aliro, Richard Tebere,Charles Onyango Obbo and Jimmy Serugo were bought out by the Nation group,(that is another rich long story to be told another day.) I would like to recognize the following Afandes among others , ( named not necessarily in order of seniority ) who participated in the fight to end the ADF rebellion and allowed me the freedom to tell the story the way I saw it at the battle field. Afande Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Afande Maj.Sula Ssemakula Suicide (RIP), I directly worked under his command, Afande Jet Mwebaze (RIP) was the first senior UPDF commander to take me to the war frontline, Afande Katumba Wamala, afande Salim Saleh, Afande Charles Angina, afande James Kazini (RIP), Afande Nobel Mayombo (RIP), Afande Kahinda Otafiire, afande Nathan Mugisha, afande Muhanga, Afande David Kaboyo, afande Richard Edyegu (he suffered severe injuries and his leg was amputated after he was hit by a landmine at the Kasese officers mess), afande Stephen Masiga (RIP), Afande Charles Owor ( oba where he?), afande Walter Ochola (RIP), afande Balikudembe Kileju (headed the then PPU now in private practice), afande Abbas Byakagaba (now commanding the Oil Police protection unit he was then regional police special branch commander western Uganda ), afande shaban Bantaliza, afande Abbey Kisubi, afende Andew Muzira, afande Maj. Kibowa, afande , maj.Kawesi, afande Muhesi, afande Tumukunde. I also salute comrades in the journalism profession who joined me to carry the story forward but first to my editors at the time, again NOT in order of seniority : William Pike, Sam Serwanga, Hellen Mukiibi, Ben Ochan, JB Wasswa, John Kakande, Ikebesi Ocole Omoding ,Barbra Kaija, Paul Nsereko (RIP), Robinnah Basalirwa, Adyeri Kanyeihe, Ben Opolt, Wange M,Joacim Buwembo, Ben Bella , Epaja Ejelu, Rosemary Kemigisha and Rev Sam Adido . And the war reporters and editors ; Grace Matsiko NV, Emmy Aliro NV , DM ‘s Kevin Aliro, (RIP) ,Richard Tebere (RIP) of the Maama and Baba Pajero fame, Photo journalists, Arthur Kintu ( you remember when the mambas were first deployed to Bundibugyo and we took and survived an RPG enemy fire), Cranmer Mugerwa (RIP), James Akena ,Peter Busomoke, Jimmy Adriko, Linda Nabusayi (you remember moving in the ‘bufallo’ in the chilly Bundibugyo mountains), John B Nzijah, John Twaite, Michael Karugaba (RIP), Kagyenda Apuuli ,BBC’s Anna Bozello, and Hassan Ali of the then BBC swahilli service (RIP). Just like Afandes, Masiga, Edyegu and many others, I too, carry scars from injuries I suffered on my left hand while on duty. We were ambushed by the rebels at a place called Sempaya just before the hot springs in Bundibugyo a few weeks into the war. We lost a couple of gallant fighters and a number were injured . But all the same, I wish every youth in this country can have the rare privilege to serve in our armed forces and show positive results for their service. That will be Patriotism at its Best. In the days to come ,I will share some of the pictures and stories which were published from the war frontline in The New Vision ,nearly 20 years ago. I also want to be inspired by comrades, Joachim Buwembo (Punishing the Messenger), Charles Onyango Obbo (Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, And The Poverty,) Julius Mucunguzi ( the Story of Keeping Hope Alive) and write a book about my four years experience as a war reporter or better still, serving my country as a journalist for the last 20 years.
What went on at The New Vision
Parliamentary beat
At The New Vision we also had specialized teams of journalists (reporters/writers) who were assigned specific “beats” journalism jargon- to mean specialized reporting. We had the parliamentary beat that was headed by the ever jolly and friendly JB Wasswa an accomplished journalist in his own right who later became my boss as News Editor when he took over from Sam Serwanga. For that beat they were reporters who included among others , Francis Mutazindwa later became proof reader and now head of the New Vision Group interests in western Uganda, the “naughty” Noti Mwesigwa (RIP),he also served as Jinja Bureau Chief , Fred Bananura (RIP), Sam Mukalazi (RIP) he also served as Mbarara Bureau Chief and later joined The East African, James Kigozi also later joined The east african, Lillian Nkwenge, Shiela Kawamara Mukabakoba, later covered the Rwanda war , Ian Katusiime now a major in UPDF legal department , Moses Paul Sserwanga later served as Fort Portal Bureau Chief and covered the ADF war in western Uganda and DR Congo, Grace Matisko, later covered the LRA war and Rwanda –Uganda War in DR Congo, Sentongo aka Baghdad, now lives in the USA, Elizabeth Nviri now lives SA, Joyce Namutebi , Peter Okello Jabweli, Felix Osike, crazy Margaret Muhanga , richard Mutumba now lives in the USA ,Barbra Bitangaro, Betty Businge among others .
Courts beat
We had Didas Bakunzi, Alfred Wasike, Ann mugisa, Hillary Nsambu, Hillary kiirya, Jude Etyang, Ruth Pauline Mbabazi, Namuyomba ,among others
Crime /KCC,
Geoffrey Kamali, Stephen Chanda, Victoria Namuyomba, Pauli Ruth Mbabazi, Yiga Ssempogo,
Business beat
Simon Kaheru, Stephen Ilungole, Paul Busharizi, Mulinde Musoke, John Odyek, Charlotte Kukunda,
Entrainment
Lillian Barenzi, Sebidde kiryowa, Simon Kaheru, Paul Busharizi, Kalungi Kabuye –this veteran has been on this beat for all the time I have come to know him – a fine writer, E Bazanye, among others
Political desk:
Eric Ogoso, Emmy Alio, Jabweli Okello, Ofono Opondo, Flexi Osike, Alfred Musamali,
Features /Investigation
Sir Ndyakira Amooti (RIP), Mulinde Musoke , S Kaheru, yunus Abbey (RIP), Denis jjuko, Allen Mutono, Elizabeth Kameo, Agnes Barongo, Lydia Mirembe, Daisy Asiimwe
Photo Journalists
Jimmy Adriko, Cranmer Mugera (RIP), Busomoke, Enock Kakande, arthur kintu, John Asipa, Margaret Kabuye, Shawn Ray
Sports
Louis Jadong, William Muwonge, James Lwanga, Wange W, Hillary Nsambu, James bakama, David Sseppuuya later became Managing editor, Sarah Nalubega the only lady sports reporter at the time
Sunday Vision
Joachim Buwembo -team leader,Ndawula Kalema, Wanyama Wangah, Betty Amailuk, Esther Namugoji, Samuel Apedel, Ernest Bazanye, Danny Dan Barongo, Angela Nampewo, David Mukholi, Tina Turyagyenda, James Mukanga

Editors/Sub editors
We also had the very best editors and subs at the time and these included among others, William Pike , James Tumusiime, Paul Nsereko, Lydia Wamala (foreign news ) this one people used to stand up and watch her strut -her thing while walking to the bathrooms in William Pike’s wooden office block, the crazy Julie Nabwire, E Egyalu, Adyeeri Kanyeike, Barbra kaija, HELLEN Mukiibi, Ben Ochan, wordsmith - Joachim Buwembo, Ben Opolot, Sam Apedel ,Ikebesi Omoding, Ben Bella” hot air” in- house training editor, Robinah Basalirwa among the first staff members when The New Vision was set up 30 years ago , Stephen asiimwe now the Uganda Tourism Board top-honcho, John Kakande, cathy mwesigwa, agnes Barango,Joan mugenzi, wanyama wangah, Jerome Mukasa, Anne Ayeta Wangusa, Betty Amailuk, Bakulumpagi , Lukia Nakamatte, Eva Nabagesera among others.
War correspondents,
Emmy Allio, Grace Matsiko, Sheila Kawamala , Moses Sserwanga,
  • Bureau Chiefs
Nathan Etengu (RIP), -Mbale
Noti Mwesigwa- jinja
Angula- jinja
‘Rev’ Richard tusiime – Mbarara now founding member and editor in chief at the Red pepper
Mujuni-Mbarara took over from Tusiime and later both joined hands to set up the Red pepper
Sam Mukalazi-Mbarara
Moses Sserwanga- Fort Portal
Environment/ farming
Patrick Luganda, ndyakira amooti, (RIP), Gerald Tenywa, Joshua Kato
Education
Cartoonists
Fred senoga aka snoogie now lives in the USA, Charles Onen aka Mr. Ras of the “balls” fame- the best paid cartoonist in the country
Librarians
David Mukholi now in top editorial management
Rose Kironde- now business woman
Secretaries,
Olive Birungi, long serving
Rose Birungi now at World Bank Kampala
Rose Kwebiha now at UPDF bombo
Front desk
Camilla Asiya- long serving
Journalism and fame; the making of ‘stars’ celebs
At the time the majority of the editorial staff were freelancers and the newsroom was highly competitive for one to get a byline. For one to have a page one byline in the New vision of the 90s earned them REAL national fame . People across the country knew us by our bylines majorly because there were few journalists and one or two national newspapers of repute. And as a direct consequence, journalism influenced much of the public policy , governance , rule of law and public perceptions on general issues around the country. So most of the above listed journalists became the first REAL established ‘Stars’ or celebs in Uganda before the musicians , FM radio presenters and comedians took over in the 2000s.
We used type writers “ manyi gakifuba” to write our stories and you had to type at least 12 carbonated pages on A 4 folio paper to fill up a center-spread feature which were edited by Mr. William Pike with his BIG black parker pen! The first desk computers and digital cameras were introduced at The New Vision around 1998 and that changed the way we did our journalism forever. There were no more , copy typists , proof readers, no more hard copy dictionaries , no more carbon paper , wall charts for quick reference , type setters, copy pasters and manyi gakifuba typewriters .
Apart from the transport facilitation ,morning and evening coffee which used to be served in the newsroom the majority freelance reporters were paid per story and photographs published . The amount of money paid per story depended on the length of the story which were measured in centimeters . But because of the commitment and love for journalism and good journalism at that, many freelancers earned more than the few staff reporters .
We used small personal Yashika cameras to take photos which were processed in a small darkroom manned by Margaret Kabuye and Jimmy Adriko who was the Chief Photographer at the time. We all looked up at the end of year pay -bonuses and parties- were the entire team led by William pike would dance and drink till the wee hours of the day! JB Wasswa was such a good dancer!That ‘s The New Vision I loved so much to work for! And I have achieved a lot in life because of the foundation I got while at the New Vision.

God bless you all!


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Mbabazi vs Museveni Presidential Petition No. 1 ,2016


Counsel for the petitioner Jude Byamukama and first respondent Kiwanuka kiryowa made us proud at the bar in their closing arguments in the Mbabazi vs Museveni&Ors presidential petition. Their clarity of thought and being alive to the facts and law was quite exemplary .I mean ,as lawyers we don’t know the law but we know where to find it -those two , plus our seniour head of the bar, Mwesigwa Rukutana ,about whether AG should be joined in election petitions as a party and Oryem who still argued the substantiality element on behalf of the 1st respondent -stood out in the 2016 election petition. In my view, there is still a grey area about the issue of substantiality and I’m confident their lordship will definitely deal with it and pronounce themselves in order to grow our jurisprudence. We await their verdict on March 31,2016. Otherwise , for the rest of the issues framed ,I concur with my learned brothers submissions for the respondents . And in judicial processes ,lets stay clear of partisan political interests . That’s why i stated at the onset of this judicial matter - that we should all submit to their lordship’s wise counsel. So we shouldn’t expect this old argument sijui -cadre judges .
God bless our country .

THE NEW VISION MARKED 30 YEARS

The New Vision Marked 30 years
I  was privileged  to have served at  The New Vision straight from school when I joined as an intern at the age of  22 and  worked there for  8 years as a war correspondent, Bureau chief in charge of South western Uganda based in Fort Portal Kabarole district and Editor.
SERVICE TO MY COUNTRY
Back in the day, I was embedded with the then most feared Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) fighting unit –the battle hardened , crack mobile, 3rd battalion, commanded by the late (RIP) Major Sula Ssemakula “Suicide” . I covered the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebellion in western Uganda for The New vision as a war Correspondent  for four years (1996-2000) and there were battles fought in kyaka , Fort Portal ,Bunyangabu, Buryaha, in the then vast Kabarole district;to Kamwenge to Mbarara to Kanungu and the mountainous areas of Kasese and Bundibugyo; to Hoima , Masindi, Mubende and Kibale. We ended up in Eastern DR Congo where we encountered the bloody battles of Kisangani mojja and Kisangani mbirri. The ADF rebels attacked katojo prisons in Fort Portal ,killed and released prisoners, attacked and killed close to 100 students at Kichwamba Technical Institute in Kabarole, cut off Bundibugyo , Bwera and Mponde border areas . They maimed , rapped ,defiled women and girls and killed hundreds of innocent civilians- raiding villages and displacing hundreds of thousands of people. But they (rebels)were still defeated. The war on the Ugandan side ended around 2000 and I headed back to my employer- The New Vision’s headquarters in the Capital Kampala and was appointed Editor in charge of rural news. I later went on to serve in the same capacity at the Daily Monitor . I also edited the Saturday and Sunday Monitor (2004-2010) after the ‘big walk out at NV’ in May 2004 (which changed the media landscape in Uganda forever) led by Conrad Nkutu and JB Wasswa, who became the Managing Director and Managing Editor at the Monitor (that equally important institution for free , independent private media), respectively. We were the first ‘outsiders’ to serve at Daily Monitor after the founders ,Wafula Ogutu, David Balikowa, Kevin Aliro, Richard Tebere,Charles Onyango Obbo and Jimmy Serugo were bought out by the Nation group,(that is another rich long story to be told another day.) I would like to recognize the following Afandes among others , ( named not necessarily in order of seniority ) who participated in the fight to end the ADF rebellion and allowed me the freedom to tell the story the way I saw it at the battle field. Afande Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Afande Maj.Sula Ssemakula Suicide (RIP), I directly worked under his command, Afande Jet Mwebaze (RIP) was the first senior UPDF commander to take me to the war frontline, Afande Katumba Wamala, afande Salim Saleh, Afande Charles Angina, afande James Kazini (RIP), Afande Nobel Mayombo (RIP), Afande Kahinda Otafiire, afande Nathan Mugisha, afande Muhanga, Afande David Kaboyo, afande Richard Edyegu (he suffered severe injuries and his leg was amputated after he was hit by a landmine at the Kasese officers mess), afande Stephen Masiga (RIP), Afande Charles Owor ( oba where he?), afande Walter Ochola (RIP), afande Balikudembe Kileju (headed the then PPU now in private practice), afande Abbas Byakagaba (now commanding the Oil Police protection unit he was then regional police special branch commander western Uganda ), afande shaban Bantaliza, afande Abbey Kisubi, afende Andew Muzira, afande Maj. Kibowa, afande , maj.Kawesi, afande Muhesi, afande Tumukunde. I also salute comrades in the journalism profession who joined me to carry the story forward but first to my editors at the time, again NOT in order of seniority : William Pike, Sam Serwanga, Hellen Mukiibi, Ben Ochan, JB Wasswa, John Kakande, Ikebesi Ocole Omoding ,Barbra Kaija, Paul Nsereko (RIP), Robinnah Basalirwa, Adyeri Kanyeihe, Ben Opolt, Wange M,Joacim Buwembo, Ben Bella , Epaja Ejelu, Rosemary Kemigisha and Rev Sam Adido . And the war reporters and editors ; Grace Matsiko NV, Emmy Aliro NV , DM ‘s Kevin Aliro, (RIP) ,Richard Tebere (RIP) of the Maama and Baba Pajero fame, Photo journalists, Arthur Kintu ( you remember when the mambas were first deployed to Bundibugyo and we took and survived an RPG enemy fire), Cranmer Mugerwa (RIP), James Akena ,Peter Busomoke, Jimmy Adriko, Linda Nabusayi (you remember moving in the ‘bufallo’ in the chilly Bundibugyo mountains), John B Nzijah, John Twaite, Michael Karugaba (RIP), Kagyenda Apuuli ,BBC’s Anna Bozello, and Hassan Ali of the then BBC swahilli service (RIP). Just like Afandes, Masiga, Edyegu and many others, I too, carry scars from injuries I suffered on my left hand while on duty. We were ambushed by the rebels at a place called Sempaya just before the hot springs in Bundibugyo a few weeks into the war. We lost a couple of gallant fighters and a number were injured . But all the same, I wish every youth in this country can have the rare privilege to serve in our armed forces and show positive results for their service. That will be Patriotism at its Best. In the days to come ,I will share some of the pictures and stories which were published from the war frontline in The New Vision ,nearly 20 years ago. I also want to be inspired by comrades, Joachim Buwembo (Punishing the Messenger), Charles Onyango Obbo (Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, And The Poverty,) Julius Mucunguzi ( the Story of Keeping Hope Alive) and write a book about my four years experience as a war reporter or better still, serving my country as a journalist for the last 20 years.
What went on at The New Vision
Parliamentary beat

At The New Vision we also had specialized teams of journalists (reporters/writers) who were assigned specific “beats” journalism jargon- to mean specialized  reporting. We had the parliamentary beat that was headed by  the ever jolly and friendly JB Wasswa an accomplished journalist in his own right who later became my boss as News Editor  when he took over from Sam Serwanga. For that beat they were reporters who included among others , Francis Mutazindwa later became proof reader and now head of the New Vision Group interests in western Uganda, the “naughty” Noti Mwesigwa (RIP),he also served as Jinja Bureau Chief , Fred Bananura (RIP), Sam Mukalazi (RIP) he also served as Mbarara Bureau Chief and later joined The East African, James Kigozi also later joined The east african, Lillian Nkwenge, Shiela Kawamara Mukabakoba, later covered the Rwanda war , Ian Katusiime now a major in UPDF legal department , Moses Paul Sserwanga later served as Fort Portal Bureau Chief and covered the ADF war in western Uganda and DR Congo, Grace Matisko,  later covered the LRA war and Rwanda –Uganda War in DR Congo, Sentongo aka Baghdad, now lives in the USA, Elizabeth Nviri now lives SA, Joyce Namutebi , Peter Okello Jabweli, Felix Osike,  crazy Margaret Muhanga , richard Mutumba now lives in the USA among others .
Courts beat
We had Didas Bakunzi, Ann mugisa, Hillary Nsambu, Hillary kiirya among others

Business beat
Simon Kaheru, Stephen Ilungole, Paul Busharizi,  Mulinde Musoke,James Odomel, Isaac Kisita
Entrainment
Lillian Barenzi, Sebidde kiryowa, Simon Kaheru, Paul Busharizi, Kalungi Kabuye –this veteran has been on this  beat for all the time I have come to know him – a fine writer,  E Bazanye, among others
Features /Investigation
Sir Ndyakira Amooti (RIP), Mulinde Musoke , S Kaheru, yunus Abbey (RIP), Denis jjuko
Photo Journalists
Jimmy Adriko, Cranmer Mugera (RIP), Busomoke, Enock Kakande, arthur kintu, John Asipa, Margaret Kabuye
Sports
Louis Jadong, William Muwonge, James Lwanga, Wange W, Hillary Nsambu, James bakama, David Sseppuuya later became Managing editor,  Sarah (forgotten her second name) the only lady sports report at the time
Editors/Sub editors
We also had the very best editors and subs at the time and these included among others, William Pike , James Tumusiime, Lydia Wamala (foreign news ) this one people used to stand up and watch  her strut -her thing while walking to the bathrooms in William Pike’s wooden office block, the crazy Julie Nabwire, E Egyalu, Adyeeri Kanyeike, Barbra kaija,  HELLEN Mukiibi, Ben Ochan, wordsmith - Joachim Buwembo, Ben Opolot,  Sam Apedel ,Ikebesi Omoding,  Ben Bella” hot air” in- house  training editor, Robinah Basalirwa  among the first staff members when The New Vision was set up 30 years ago , Stephen asiimwe now the Uganda Tourism Board top-honcho, John Kakande,  cathy mwesigwa, wanyama wangah.
War correspondents,

Emmy Allio, Grace Matsiko, Sheila Kawamala , Moses Sserwanga,
Bureau Chiefs
Nathan Etengu,  -Mbale
Noti Mwesigwa- jinja
Angula- jinja
‘Rev’ Richard tusiime – Mbarara now founding member and editor in chief at the Red pepper
Mujuni-Mbarara took over from Tusiime and later both joined hands to set up the Red pepper
Sam Mukalazi-Mbarara
Moses Sserwanga-  Fort Portal
Environment/ farming
Patrick Luganda, ndyakira amooti, (RIP), Gerald Tenywa, Joshua Kato
Education
JohnEryemu
Cartoonists
Fred senoga  aka snoogie now lives in the USA, Carles Onen aka Mr. Ras of the “balls” fame- the best paid cartoonist in the country
Librarians
David Mukholi now in top editorial management
Rose Kironde- now business woman
Secretaries,
Olive Birungi, long serving
Rose Birungi now at World Bank Kampala
Rose Kwebiha now at UPDF bombo
Front desk
Camilla Asiya- long serving
Journalism and fame; the making of ‘stars’ celebs
At the time the majority of the editorial staff were freelancers and the newsroom was highly competitive for one to get a byline.  For one to have a page one byline in the New vision of the 90s earned  them  REAL national fame . People across the country knew us by our bylines majorly because there were few journalists and one or two national newspapers of repute.  And as a direct consequence, journalism influenced much of the public policy , governance , rule of law and public perceptions on general issues around the country.  So most of the above listed journalists became the first REAL established ‘Stars’ or celebs in Uganda before the musicians  , FM radio presenters and comedians took over in the 2000s.
We used type writers “ manyi gakifuba” to write our stories and you had to type at least 12  carbonated pages on  A 4 folio paper to fill up a center-spread feature which were edited by Mr. William Pike with his BIG  black parker pen! The first desk computers and digital cameras were introduced at The New Vision around 1998 and that changed the way we did our  journalism forever.  There were no more , copy typists , proof readers, no more hard copy dictionaries , no more caborn paper , wall charts for quick reference  , type setters,  and manyi gakifuba typewriters .
Apart from the transport facilitation ,morning and evening coffee which used to be served in the newsroom the majority freelance reporters were paid per story and photographs published .  The amount of money paid per story depended on the length of the story which were  measured in centimeters . But because of the commitment and love for journalism and good journalism at that, many freelancers earned more than the few staff reporters .
We used small personal Yashika cameras to take photos which were processed in a small darkroom manned by Margaret Kabuye and Jimmy Adriko who was the Chief Photographer at the time. We all looked up at the end of year pay -bonuses   and parties- were the entire team led by William pike would dance and drink till the wee hours of the day! That ‘s The New Vision I loved so much to work for! And I have achieved a lot in life because of the foundation I got while at the New Vision.

God bless you all!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

GROWING CONFIDENCE IN AGRICULTURAL LENDING IN UGANDA


GROWING CONFIDENCE IN AGRICULTURAL LENDING A new World Bank report “Growing Africa: Unlocking the Potential of Agribusiness,” says that Africa’s farmers and agribusinesses could create a trillion-dollar food market by 2030 if they can expand their access to more capital, electricity, better technology and irrigated land to grow high-value nutritious foods. The potential of agriculture to reduce poverty and catalyse development in Africa is appealing but the reality to date points to several factors impeding African agribusiness and market development. In Uganda, the Agricultural Business Initiative Trust (aBi Trust ) currently in its third year of operation has identified low smallholder agricultural productivity, inadequate agricultural finance, poor marketing strategies and inadequate trade opportunities as factors that are holding back that potential. This is in addition to inadequate storage facilities and assembling points, limited agro-processing and manufacturing (low value-addition activities), less consultative government policy formulation and policy reversals, poor quality standards of agricultural commodities, and slow pace of agricultural export diversification. The financing for agriculture in Uganda has improved over the last several years as illustrated by the growing confidence of institutions that have worked with different partners to improve financial services for agribusiness. However, a lot still has to be accomplished. FINCA Uganda Limited (MDI) was the first licensed Microfinance Deposit-taking Institution (MDI) in 2004; it provides life-changing financial services to Uganda's lowest-income entrepreneurs with the aim of creating jobs, building assets, and improving their standard of living. In January 2010, FINCA Uganda signed onto the Agribusiness Loan Guarantee Scheme, under the aBi Trust. In its three years of operation, FINCA Uganda’s has registered remarkable overall performance on the scheme standing out in terms of volume and value of loans. It is this performance that formed the basis for raising the MDI’s limit to accommodate its wide scope of financial products. It is important to note that due to a slowdown in the economy and particularly difficult market conditions, 2012 was not a good year for the financial sector. The regulated financial services sector faced some challenges that led to a slower than anticipated growth coupled with changes in technology to help improve its efficiency. It specifically recorded a decline in portfolio quality; illustrated by an increase in the ratio of NPA from 1.6 in June 2011 to 3.9 in June 2012, a deterioration that was largely driven by the construction sector. A positive lending trend, however small, in a sector which is still perceived to be one of the riskiest in the financial services industry has had a positive impact and led to some tangible results. aBi Trust Annual Report 2012 records several success stories that point to change in attitude among financial institutions. This increase in confidence goes hand in hand with some other positive trends such as competitiveness and investment as the following case study that profiles Mr. Willy Oloya illustrates. A Traders Tale Mr. Willy Oloya is a trader and rice processor with over 22 years ‘experience in the rice trade. A resident of Gulu in Northern Uganda, Willy Oloya has other agricultural interests including maize and oilseeds to a smaller extent though his primary trade is in rice. Oloya opened his account with FINCA in 2009. At the time he had a 10 ton rice huller machine and wanted to access credit to acquire a 60 ton rice huller machine to build a rice factory. His asset base and profits have since grown from USh 10M to USh 50M. As the demand for rice grew Mr. Oloya quickly recognized that he did not have the capacity to open up more land for the raw material, and that he would have to rely on the farmer communities to produce and supply to him. In order to sustain his growing business Willy has collaborated with several farmer groups, which he has categorized according to the volumes they deliver. In turn, he has linked other commercial farmers to FINCA to access credit to increase productivity. Trading as M/S NILE SAFARI MILLERS, Oloya reports that the loan has enabled rice production financing at different stages hence increasing rice output and production from 25,000 metric tons (2011) to 200,000 metric tons (2012) since he works with many more suppliers than those he has linked to the MDI. He currently associates with 2,280 members from 108 farmer groups, located in three Districts of Gulu, Amuru and Nwoya to whom he provides the following services: i. Identifies stage at which they are for most suitable financing needs; ii. Supports their crop selection process, primarily rice which has more stable prices than other cereals e.g. maize; iii. Has a permanent staff to provide farmers with relevant information on the enterprise they are promoting; iv. Hires consultants and Agricultural extension workers to guide farmers on best practices in rice production and post-harvest handling trainings and advice; v. Avails farmers small machinery at a fee to support the land opening process; vi. Provides, at a fee, hulling and storage facilities. To ensure that he is the farmers’ primary trader, Mr. Oloya has set up buying centers nearer to where the groups are located and contracts farmers on a seasonal commission basis. In addition, he offers farmers other services like planting, weeding, harvesting, storage and marketing. He states that these interventions explain why 99% of the farmers fulfill their commitments to him. The farmer groups identified by Mr. Oloya are in turn approached by the MDI which trains them three to four times on various aspects of agribusiness - saving, accessing finances and record keeping. It also appraises them for facilities which are sometimes simultaneously done with the training. Finally, the MDI identifies those who are ready for financing either in groups or individually and finances them. In 2012, 16 groups were identified by Mr. Oloya, out of which the MDI financed 10 groups with 292 members, with the rest being further developed. Out of these groups, five were visited and the findings from the visits are mixed results. The results from the visits outlined below provide interesting lessons for different stakeholders, including ALGC. While the loans were welcomed by all farmer groups, perceptions of their utility and actual utilization differed from group to group. In the case of Owoo Commercial Farmers, the FINCA facilities were considered beneficial and had been repaid by the time of the visit. Similarly, Aringolo Group had in addition to the loan which they had repaid benefited from the use of tractors to open up land. ALGC is now aBi Finance Limited a finance arm of aBi, it manages an endowment fund that was set up to ensure that the Trust exists in perpetuity and with the objective of providing funding for the aBi Trust to enable it execute its programmes activities in a sustainable manner as well as promoting provision of credit facilities to agricultural based small and medium sized enterprises.