Agricultural Finance Corporation supports Kenyan women farmers with US$9.3m financing

KENYA – The Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) has extended a Ksh1 billion (US$9.3m) loan to women farmers as it seeks to empower women-led enterprises.

The money, which is part of Ksh3 billion (US$27.95m) that AFC intends to loan women, has been disbursed over nine months, according to the agency’s board chair Franklin Bett.

The institution last year started the Women Affirmative Access Window programme to drive financial inclusion in agricultural finance.

Mr Bett said the loans have been made collateral free to attract women who would want to access funds for agro enterprises but they are held back by the need to have security as is the case with commercial banks, reports Business Daily.

“We have issued Ksh1 billion (US$9.3m) since the beginning of the current financial year and we still have more funds to give out under this programme,” he said.

AFC aims to increase loans advanced to women to about Ksh1.4 million (US$13,000) a day or Ksh1 billion (US$9.3m) in a calendar year.

On the total AFC loans portfolio of Ksh8.7 billion (US$81m), women account for only 25 per cent despite their loans being much productive than those of their male counters.

The development finance institution Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC), has recently appointed George Kubai as its new managing director effective April 1 2021.

“We have issued Ksh1 billion (US$9.3m) since the beginning of the current financial year and we still have more funds to give out under this programme.”

AFC board Chair – Franklin Bett

Prior to his appointment, Mr Kubai was the General Manager, Downstream Operations at the National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOCK).

The new boss takes over from the lender’s Corporation Secretary Mrs Rose Ochanda who has been the acting Managing Director since the retirement of the long-serving CEO Lucas Meso who stepped down in October 2020 after almost 10 years at the helm.

Kenya’s agriculture industry has recently been receiving financial boost from different organizations with the Co-op Bank, one of Kenya’s primary bank for agricultural cooperative societies, partnering with Fund to avail US$10 million financing for on-lending to sustainable agribusinesses.

Being the fund’s first ever investment in Kenya, it aims to provide the much-needed financing for businesses to enhance sustainable measures in their agricultural practices, particularly important in light of the challenging operating environment created by the Covid-19 crisis.

According to the impact investor, the investment contributes to its mission of conserving biodiversity, promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, and mitigating and adapting to climate change.

This came weeks after Equity Bank received US$144m from the European Union and the European Investment Bank, to provide liquidity to Kenya’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including the agriculture sector.

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