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Boost for Kenyan farmers

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Boost for Kenyan farmers
Despite Kenya’s great agricultural potential, the country’s smallholder farmers often lack the collateral to secure financing to buy the fertilizers they need. Image credit: Markus Winkler from Unsplash

Boost for Kenyan farmers 

A new project in Kenya will deliver nearly 8,000 tons of fertilizer to 100,000 smallholder farmers.  

Kenyan smallholder farmers often lack the collateral to secure financing to buy the fertilizers they need. With agriculture being identified as the key driver of the country’s economic growth and food security in Kenya’s Vision 2030, farmers need all the support they can get.

The Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism recently launched a project that will help deliver nearly 8,000 tons of fertilizers to 100,000 smallholder farmers, boosting harvests and incomes.

The Mechanism, by sharing credit risk with suppliers like Apollo Agriculture, bolsters their confidence to offer fertilizer on credit.

Through its Fertilizer Financing for Sustainable Agriculture Management Project the Mechanism will provide a USD2-million partial trade credit guarantee and a grant of USD219,000 to Apollo Agriculture, a Kenyan corporation, to facilitate the company’s fertilizer sales.

Insurance against crop failure (Boost for Kenyan farmers)

The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, through a contribution of USD10.15-million to the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism, is also supporting the project, which was launched earlier this month in the capital, Nairobi.

Representatives of the African Development Bank, which manages the Mechanism, Apollo Agriculture and the Kenyan and Norwegian governments attended the launch event.

According to Marie Claire Kalihangabo, Coordinator of the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism the credit risk guarantee also provides finance directly to smallholder farmers at the last mile of delivery. “It offers fertilizer, certified seed crop protection, and insurance against crop failure,” says Kalihangabo.

The two-year-long project will use Apollo’s digital platform to connect farmers seeking fertilizer and other inputs on credit with a network of 150 retail agro-dealers and 800 village-based agents. Kenya’s fertilizer market involves importers, blenders, and a government subsidy program.

Increasing food security in Kenya (Boost for Kenyan farmers)

Nnenna Nwabufo, Director General of the African Development Bank’s East Africa regional office says that this support is in line with the Bank’s Feed Africa Strategy.

“It will ensure long-term private sector engagement in financing fertilizer, ultimately increasing food production and security in Kenya,” says Nwabufo.

Benjamin Njenga, co-founder of Apollo Agriculture, says that farmers can obtain high-quality farming supplies by paying a small deposit upfront, with the full loan being due when the farmer has harvested and sold the produce.

“We believe increased and proper fertilizer use can significantly impact food supply and household income,” says Gunnar Holm, Norwegian Ambassador to Kenya.

Peter Owoko, Director of Policy at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development also announced new initiatives at the launch that will strengthen Kenyan food security.

“During the 2024 cropping seasons, the government targets to avail up to 12.5 million tons of fertilizers to farmers under the subsidy program,” he said.

The African Development Bank has granted Kenya USD67-million in 2022-2023 through its African Emergency Food Production Facility.

Apollo Agriculture has already begun implementing the Fertilizer Financing for Sustainable Agriculture Management Project in Kenya’s Bungoma and Uasin Gishu counties, targeting maize production. There are high expectations that yields will increase for the harvest season starting in September 2024.

Boost for Kenyan farmers

Boost for Kenyan farmers
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Boost for Kenyan farmers

 

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