KCB to pump Sh35bn into agriculture

KCB to pump Sh35bn into agriculture

Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Group has committed Sh35billion to finance agriculture business opportunities that could reach some two million smallholder farmers, over the next five years.

KCB Group will enable more than 150,000 farmer’s access modern farming technologies, crop insurance and other agricultural technology.

KCB Group CEO Joshua Oigara said that the funding will include five percent of the bank’s loan, slightly above the current 3.85 percent funding the sector.

“The multiplier effect in the agricultural sector is enormous. We have therefore made a conscious decision to enhance our support for the sector that has the most significant and immediate impact,’’ Mr Oigara said.

He made the pledge during the ongoing African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) organized by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

Delegates at the conference have been calling for increased financing and budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector as concerns rise over Africa’s ability to feed its population.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said the government would allocate Sh20 billion over the next five years to fund agriculture entrepreneurs while the African development bank said it would set aside Sh240 billion for agriculture financing.

KCB expects the funds to ease access to credit, a challenge most farmers have faced.

“For agriculture to succeed, it must be owned by the young people who are full of energy. They have the passion but lack the financing required to undertake intensive agricultural projects. We are ready to advance them this money so that they too can become employers and earn a living,” he said.

KCB will work with the MasterCard Foundation, contributing $30 million each year to help smallholder farmers’ access credit and market information via mobile devices.

The Bank lends almost Sh14 billion to the agricultural sector.

The banks group focuses on major transformational projects in agriculture which has established a value chain development program that has so far reached 30,000 livestock herders, bee-keepers and fishermen across the counties.

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