Sesame field visit was organised for bankers and representatives of micro-finance institutions and kebele loan committees at Sanja on October 24, 2016. The field day brought together about 70 participants convened from North Gondar branches of Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), Cooperative Bank of Oromia (CBO), Amhara Credit and Saving Institution (ACSI), Tach Armachiho woreda Office of Agriculture, woreda administration and Selam union and farmers primary cooperatives.
Participants visited a matured sesame field at Sanja farmer training centre(FTC), in which different trials have been conducted. The filed visit and the discussions made after the visit helped representatives of financial organisations to be aware of the different costs that farmers incur when they are using conventional and improved production technologies. It also gives them the chance to learn the farmers’ financial problem in the sesame production.
During the discussion, Mr. Ligabaw Hailu a farmer, a farmer from Sanja kebele, witnessed that he and his fellow friends are convinced on the fact that employing improved agricultural technologies will increase production and their income. He, however, mentioned: “land renting, rent for oxen, fertilizer application, use of quality seed, land preparation, labour and other steps in the sesame production require much money. Most of us wanted to use fertilizer but we did not; it was mainly due to lack of credit. Production cost reaches up to 10,000 for one hectare. We get 7,000-birr credit from Amhara Credit and Saving Institute (ACSI) and from this 7,000 we straightaway pay 700 for fertiliser; if we get 1,400 loan, we need to pay 1,400. This money will end before the weeding time. Most of us are yearning to use the improved technology. For myself I plan to use improved production technologies but this depends on the money that I have.”
Representatives of the financial organisations discussed on major challenges related to finance. Among the points raised and discussed are: banks do not have a special credit product to give credit for individual farmers; financial institutions lack of awareness on the cost of production; lack of commitment on the side of investor farmers- it was mentioned that some investor farmers took loan from the banks for investing it into their land but they rent their land and invest the money to other purposes; ACSIs timing of credit provision to small scale-farmers; poor saving culture; limited reach of financial organisations; problems of Farmers Cooperative Unions in providing their questions to the banks on time and not returning their loans on time etc.
Participants said they will do their best to search for solutions for the challenges on their parts. It was also suggested by participants that financial institutions (ACSI and banks) need to go hand in hand to meet the challenges and support in the efforts made to increase the production and productivity of sesame and other crops.