Uganda: Good planning and budgeting help coffee farmers manage money

| March 1, 2020

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Ugandan farmer and mother of 14, Josephine Nalwadda, recently learned new methods that are helping this experienced farmer save more. She was trained on effective planning, budgeting, and recordkeeping. Mrs. Nalwadda grows coffee in Kibali, a village about 55 kilometres from Kampala, Uganda. Thanks to her training in financial literacy, she now saves money with a co-operative and keeps records for her local village savings association. She’s using her new savings to buy land and finish constructing a new house.

Josephine Nalwadda is busy analyzing a book where she records savings, plans, and budgets for her coffee enterprise. She regards farming as a business. In the past, Mrs. Nalwadda couldn’t save money and didn’t know if she was making a profit or a loss.

But now that Mrs. Nalwadda has been trained in financial literacy by various non-governmental organizations, things are looking better. She says, “I am now able to plan, budget, and keep records of coffee sales due to the regular training I received. I can count millions of shillings nowadays.”

Mrs. Nalwadda grows coffee in Kibali, a village in Ngogwe sub-county about 55 kilometres from Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. Because of her training in financial literacy, she has adopted a saving and planning culture.

She explains: “Saving money and budgeting are good principles in farming because they help keep money safe for proper use. These techniques help me to ably fight poverty, solve family problems, and invest in the education of my children.”

Mrs. Nalwadda says that there are many ways a farmer can save money, including village saving groups and credit societies.

She explains: “I now save some money in a Savings and Credit Cooperative [SACCO] account and in my mobile phone account where I can withdraw anytime. At home, I have a box where I also save money. I have also managed to save about 5,000,000 Ugandan shillings ($1,350 US) in a fixed deposit account at Ngogwe SACCO Limited.”

Because of her interest in saving money, Mrs. Nalwadda is the chairperson of a village savings and credit society in her area. Kibali Society of Economic Development Association or KISEDA, started in 2012. Mrs. Nalwadda deposits money with KISEDA almost every month.

She says keeping records is the secret of KISEDA’s success. She says, “I record before banking. There is no theft in our group due to clear recordkeeping.”

Difasi Kibaluma also grows coffee and is a member of KISEDA. He says he has learned important financial literacy skills through the group, including saving, planning, and budgeting. Mr. Kibaluma advises other coffee farmers to get trained in these skills. He adds: “I have budgeted money for constructing a house for two piglets using my income from coffee. I managed to plan to come out of a small house to a big one. I also saved 917,000 Ugandan shillings ($248 US) from coffee farming and I will use part of this money to plaster my unfinished house.”

Joseph Ruyombo is the extension officer at UGACOF, a coffee company in Kampala. Mr. Ruyombo says that age and lack of education need not be barriers for farmers who want to improve their farming businesses. He praises Mrs. Nalwadda for supporting other farmers with knowledge and funds.

Mrs. Nalwadda encourages other women to grow more coffee and save their earnings as well as plan and budget properly. She says, “They should stick to the budget. I further encourage women farmers to join savings groups.”

Knowledge of planning, budgeting, and saving money has helped Mrs. Nalwadda achieve great things in her life, things she never thought imagined. She says: “With the savings, I planned to complete my house and build another one. I bought a piece of land and I am now developing it. I also plan to expand my coffee farm. All these are due to proper planning and budgeting as well as managing savings well.”

Financed by the GIZ, commissioned by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Photo by Nina Laflamme Photography.