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Govt plans Ksh 10B funding for farmers in key value chains

PHOTO | Courtesy

The State Department for Agriculture is developing a programme that will avail Ksh 10 billion to farmers through the Agriculture Finance Corporation (AFC).

According to Agriculture Principal Secretary Dr Paul Rono, the government has begun utilising the farmers database to channel funding to farmers in priority sub-sectors

“We already have a programme to give AFC Ksh 10 billion to loan to farmers,” said Dr Rono.

“We are aware of the challenges we are also facing in the recovery of our loans and we have notified all the defaulters to make sure they pay all their loans so that we can really take it back to other farmers who are also requesting for loans,” he added.

Speaking during the the Financing Agriculture Sustainably pre-Conference, Kiptoo said the use of the farmers database will help derisk the sector and attract much needed private capital to the sector.

“6.4 million farmers is our database is not a joke with geolocation. We arable to tell what the farmer is doing in each of every area in this country and as we build our financial strategies we will build it on top of that database so that we are able to tell how much funding we require for a specific value chain in agriculture and who are the targeted stakeholders and farmers in that value chain,” he stated.

Kenya has identified 18 out of 33 value chains which will be given priority in funding to enhance food security and nutrition, create jobs and increase exports.

“Capital is there it just needs to be mobilized through the creation of enabling environment. Unlocking that investment in agriculture is crucial for industrial growth, economic environment and reducing poverty,” said Andrew McCown, ARD Partners Group Chairman.

This comes as the government mulls authorizing the importation of 4 million bags of maize to plug a projected shortage this year.

The anticipated maize imports are aimed at stabilize maize prices during dry season.

Kenya projects that 44 million bags of maize were harvested last year against an annual average demand 48 million bags.

The government also targets to buy 1 million bags from local farmers at a cost of Ksh 4000 per bag.

The Financing Agriculture Sustainably Conference is slated for March this year.