Ministry to host forum on financing agricultural sector

Prof Ratemo Michieka (left), Dr Kawira Mutegi, Dr Paul Rono and Mary Mwiti during a breakfast meeting on the announcement of Finas 2024. [Courtesy]

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rootooba has announced a two-day forum themed Financing Agriculture Sustainably Conference (Finas 2024) to be held on March 27 and 28 in Nairobi.

 In a bid to curb the looming severe food insecurity in Kenya and help reduce inflation on foodstuff, the allied organisations will seek to rally sector players including financial institutions, agribusiness stakeholders and government to re-look funding options and investment in the agricultural sector and position Kenya for resilient agricultural enterprises.

Despite being the largest sector in terms of GDP contribution, agriculture loans and investments portfolios currently are disproportionately low compared to the agriculture sector’s share of GDP.

According to the Financial Access Household Survey 2019 formal borrowing to service agriculture is used by around 3.2 per cent of Kenyans. This has created a gap that has resulted in the mushrooming of informal financing mechanisms that lack the capacity, quality, and quantity to respond to the needs.

Alternative income sources, social networks and the sale of assets have been sub-optimal alternatives for raising the much-needed capital for investing in the sector.

Speaking during a breakfast meeting on the announcement of Finas 2024, the Council of Governors CEO Mary Mwiti said agriculture is the backbone of Kenya’s prosperity but the sector is grappling with insufficient financing.

Mwiti emphasised that counties are pivotal to collaboration and unpacking of solutions to establish credit and financing policies to empower farmers. 

 “We need to see how to invest and transform Kenya’s large and fertile land into a thriving agricultural ecosystem running efficiently and profitably to benefit not only farmers but also our economy as a whole. This conference will be the right place to do just that,” said PS State Department of Agriculture Paul Rono.

Dr Kawira Mutegi, Conference Director said that Finas 2024 will bring together actors in the agricultural sector to deliberate on financing the sector through appropriate models.

“The landscape conversations will bring out challenges that will inform subsequent discussions with financing solution providers and beneficiaries. The discussions will include designing financing solutions to ensure relevance to the wide range of beneficiaries, and de-risking approaches for injecting capital such as blended financing,” said Mutegi.

Partners such as GIZ, FSD-Kenya,  African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership, AGRA, National Research Fund, International Food Policy Research Institute, Tegemeo Institute, Association of Fintechs in Kenya, AGRA, Association of Microfinance Institutions of Kenya, Fertilizer Association of Kenya, Apollo Agriculture, Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives, SNBX Capital, are also playing key roles in ensuring the success of the conference and transformation of the Agricultural sector in Kenya.

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