Government asked to prioritize agri- funding in rural areas

Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has said that there is need to focus on expanding rural access to finance, since the landscape in the country shows a number of gaps in these areas.

AGRA said that government and other development partners should prioritize provision of financial services for women in agricultural activities.

Unequal access, exclusion of the poor, women and youth narrow the range of production and do not match demand and circumstances, said AGRA, Policy and Partnerships Vice President Dr. Lindiwe Majele.

Majele revealed that Kenyan Government and AGRA are partnering to implement the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Rural Outreach of Financial Innovations and Technologies Program (PROFIT) where AFC is one of the implementing partners.

He said that partnership with AGRA, AFC targets to reach more than 300,000 smallholder farmers in the next three years and will be lending well over Sh3 billion.

Majele was speaking in Nairobi during the official launch of Women Affirmative Access (WAA) Window a move that will enable women in Agri- sector access finances.

The AGRA vice president explained that AFC is implementing the Risk Sharing Facility (RSF) component where loans issued by the financial institutions to target clients and value chain actors are secured through a credit guarantee mechanism created between the Government of Kenya and the financial institution.

AFC has been disbursing loans through Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs), Micro Finance Banks (MFBs), and Agri SMEs. Through these distribution channels, AFC has reached over 70,000 smallholder farmers since roll of the risk sharing sub-component in January 2007.

WAA will be steadily steered to serve, organized women in producer cooperatives, the salaried women in the public sector and private companies and SMEs, the micro traders who have evidence of knowledge in their business, the riskier non-business producers but who alleviate the risk of food security among others.

The key concept of this model as opposed to the traditional products is that the lending shall not be based on hard collateral.

Source: Kenya News Agency