KENYA – Micro Enterprises Support Programme Trust (MESPT) has partnered with donors such as the Danish government and the European Union to support Kenyan farmers access funds for their agricultural activities.
The organization will be extending Ksh3 billion loan to over 50,000 small scale farmers, aimed to strengthen food production and create more jobs in the agriculture sector, reports Business Daily.
Ms Rebecca Amukhoye, MESPT Chief Executive Officer, said the institution is implementing a development model that seeks to enhance agriculture enterprise development and agricultural productivity and food safety by increasing financial access and inclusivity to farmers.
The agency is undertaking different projects in a number of counties, for instance in Taita Taveta, MESPT is supporting banana farmers while at the coast is giving both technical and financial support to coconut farmers.
“These funds are meant to help farmers improve on their farming activities through financial support to boost food production in the country,” said Ms Amukhoye.
The institution is extending the loan to farmers at 13 percent interest rate, with Ms Amukhoye saying the demand has been high from growers.
The programme is designed to run in the next five years and is aimed at assisting farmers to confront challenges they are grappling with in their daily ventures.
A lot of farmers have had difficulties in carrying out their operations due to inaccessibility of funds as most banks shy from lending to farmers due to high risks involved.
MESPT, through its Agriculture Financing (AgriFi) initiative is aiming at increasing agricultural yields, open sustainable supply chains for farmers, and improve food security in line with Kenya’s Big Four Agenda and the blueprint Vision 2030.
The support comes at an opportune time given that Africa’s agriculture sector is set to take years to recover from effects of COVID-19, which experts say is likely to lead to sharp rise in food import bill.
This is according to the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF), who further highlighted that the situation could be worsened by a rise in post-harvest losses and climate change which is attributed to the unpredictable weather patterns.
EAFF says food imports by the African continent could rise from Ksh. 4.4 trillion (US$40 billion) annually to Ksh. 11 trillion (US$100 billion) within the next 10 years.
Food exports were also affected by the pandemic which left farmers counting losses running into millions of shillings.
It is estimated that the agriculture sector lost 70% of its revenue to the pandemic with 40% related to post-harvest losses.