Increasing Access to Smallholder Farmers and Rural Families - Currently, Opportunity Uganda is piloting a package of loan, savings, insurance and training products for small-scale farmers who deal with highly seasonal cash flows and often need bulk financing to purchase crop inputs like seeds, fertilizer and tools. To maximize the farmers’ chances for success, specially-trained agriculture loan officers will utilize crop profiles, mapping of plots of land and household profiles to guide the farmers in expansion and diversification. During the first half of 2011, Opportunity Uganda:
- Disbursed 863 agricultural loans to coffee farmers.
- Developed partnerships within the coffee sector including the Coffee Alliance program in Mubende.
- Financed input loans for fertilizers which can improve and double coffee yields.
- Laid the groundwork to lend to cotton producers and banana farmers via mobile bank vans.
Innovative Delivery Channels - A key component of Opportunity Uganda’s plan to serve rural areas is to use mobile bank vans to bring the custom products virtually anywhere to serve clients where they live and work and also to increase the use of technology through the deployment of electronic payment systems: ATM, POS and cell phone banking options. During the first phase of the project, Opportunity Uganda issued 5,000 client cards which can be used at ATMs or POS devices.
Education Loan Products – Opportunity Uganda provides customized loans to school proprietors who use them to improve the quality of their educational offerings. During the first half of 2011, Uganda increased the Education portfolio by 10% and expanded the program. Currently Uganda offers Education Finance loans in the rural branches of Mbarara, Iganga and Jinja and will introduce the program in Mubende branch later this year. Today, Opportunity Uganda has 77 active loans with a portfolio valuing $1.5 million and has provided training to more than 100 school proprietors cumulatively, covering business planning, financial management and marketing. By the end of 2011, Opportunity Uganda expects to reach 195 active school proprietor loans. Opportunity Uganda is also helping 494 families with school fee loans.