DFC issues US$9.5m financing to Apollo Agriculture to support small-holder farmers in Kenya

KENYA – Kenyan agri-tech startup Apollo Agriculture has secured a US$9.5 million loan from the United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) for onward lending to smallholder farmers in the country.

While announcing the 10-year loan, the DFC said the facility would help improve food security in Kenya by boosting Apollo’s ability to support smallholder farmers, reports Business Daily.

“Investments approved by the Board this quarter include a US$9.5 million loan to Apollo Agriculture, Inc. a financial vehicle making small microloans and inputs available to smallholder farmers in Kenya,” said the DFC in a statement detailing US$1.13 billion worth of new global investments.

Founded in 2016, Apollo Agriculture uses machine learning and automated operations technology to offer product suit for farmers including financing, data analysis for higher crop yields, optimised advice and options to purchase key inputs, equipment and insurance.

The startup has engineered its own app, platform and outreach program serving 100,000 farmers since its inception.

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The financing comes months after it clinched a US$1 million debt funding from the Agri-Business Capital Fund (ABC Fund), following its US$6 million Series A funding round undertaken last year.

AgriFI Challenge Fund awards three agri-businesses

In other related news, the European Union has awarded three Kenyan companies grants worth more than Kshs 190 million (US$1.68m), through the AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund to support innovation and growth of the country’s agri–enterprise sector.

Presenting the awards to Sereni Fries, Bubayi Products Ltd and Prosoya Kenya Ltd, the European Union Ambassador to Kenya, Henriette Geiger said, “The three companies have been chosen based on their innovative ideas and their social impact.

“We expect this grant to go a long way in creating more jobs and integrating smallholder farmers in value chains while introducing climate smart agriculture innovative practices.”

Sereni Fries is a potato processor and producer of a range of popular potato chip snacks, Prosoya Kenya manufactures animal feeds from crops including sorghum and millet, while Bubayi Ltd processes and sells certified bean seed.

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In addition to the financial support, the awardees have benefitted from technical assistance on enterprise development, social inclusion and market linkages.

Managed by Self Help Africa and Imani Development Limited, the AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund is an initiative of the European Union and co-funded by SlovakAid to support productive and market-integrated smallholder agriculture through the provision of financial support.

The fund aims to contribute to improvement in the capacity of smallholder farmers/pastoralists to practice environmentally sustainable and climate smart agriculture as a business in inclusive value chains.

The AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund has provided grant financing to 37 agri–enterprises which have created close to 4,000 new jobs, and reached 100,000 smallholder farmers and pastoralists in twelve different value chains across Kenya including dairy, horticulture, aquaculture, cotton, pyrethrum, coffee, sorghum, nuts, gums, potatoes, apiculture, cereals and pulses.

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