The credit facility enables the farmers to access seed or cash loans to do their aggro business and start paying back after 3 month.
The project addresses issues of poverty, hunger and malnutrition (PHM) through provision of agricultural loans. The PHM have been there since the Batwa eviction in 1993 from their ancestral home in Bwindi forest now a national park and renowned home for the mountain gorillas. Limited access to the forest not only affected the Batwa native people but also the local non-Batwa people including the now reformed poachers and women. Traditionally, nearly all the people in these communities must work, till the land and manage fields of crops or animals to survive, and conduct other side projects or work to generate some small income. However, most of these people have no prior agricultural experience to guide their success and typically experience poor or inadequate results. The luck of accessible finance has caused poor farmers remain and become poorer.
For the last six years CIBIC has successfully supported Batwa and other local people’s livelihoods through providing farming skills and tools at household level and engaging them in active agribusiness. In the past expanding this facility was accomplished in accordance with the receipt of one-time grants. A micro-loan facility, replenished and grown with a portion of the Co-op profits and additional donations over time, will provide sustainable means to continuously add new recipients who may receive the benefit of these CIBIC services enabling production and selling high quality food including vegetables, pork, mushrooms and honey to the tourist lodges and within the wider community.
According to CIBIC research, over £10,000 is spent monthly by the tourist lodges buying food from Kampala city, over 450km away. The lodges buy in bulk and perishables often go bad before they are delivered. These Kampala purchases include vegetables and fruits that can be grown locally and successfully in Bwindi soils. Also chicken, fish and other meats are purchased and transported from Kampala. CIBIC is addressing this opportunity by training and supporting small scale farmers to produce food that have local demand in the tourist lodges and in the other local markets. CIBIC has opened and is completing a new grocery and affordable restaurant to help expand local farmer’s access to these markets that also reduces costs by eliminating lengthy transport and food loss and associated middle-man profit.
Providing the local people ready sources of self-produced food and income allows them the grace to appreciate nature conservation in the National Park including the Mountain Gorillas.