The African Development Bank (AfDB) has named Ester Kariuki as African Banker of the Year for creating efficient credit process among small-holder farmers.
During AfDB’s 58th Annual Meeting currently underway in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, Kariuki who the Head of Agriculture Business at the Co-operative Bank of Kenya was feted for making small-holder farmers bankable by creating an end-to-end credit administration process that has ensured a near 100pc loan repayment performance.
This in turn, has enabled small scale farmers involved in primary production sustainably run their enterprises and improve their income.
AfDB award committee also lauded for the roll-out of Co-op Bank Soko, an online marketplace that connects various agriculture value chains and provides farmers with direct market access for their produce besides accessing farm inputs and Co-op Bank financial services.
The platform already has 750,000 registered farmers trading in coffee, potatoes, rice and cotton.
Kariuki was instrumental in crafting the direct export of coffee by Kipkelion Coffee Co-operative Union, which draws it membership from farmers in Kericho and Bomet counties, to coffee roasters in South Korea, the first ever direct sale of coffee between an international buyer and small-scale farmers without any broker/agent.
The transaction enabled farmers to earn a premium rate of $1.30 per kilo of coffee cherry, the highest ever paid by Kipkelion Coffee Union.
The Banker of the Year Award was created by AfDB to recognise individuals who have demonstrated an outstanding ability to ensure thier bank is playing an active role in enhancing socio-economic empowerment and development within the community they operate in.