AFC AND KCDMS BLENDED FINANCE PROGRAM LAUNCH 2020
10th March 2020, Kisumu County. Agricultural enterprises in Nyanza and Western are set to benefit from an innovative blended finance initiative that was launched by the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) in partnership with Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems activity (KCDMS). The program aimed at facilitating access to agricultural finance in the counties of mutual interest to agricultural and agriculture micro, small, medium (MSMEs) and large enterprises for a period of 3 years. This will be implemented in twelve counties namely Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Kisumu, Siaya, Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Vihiga, Kitui, Makueni and TaitaTaveta, and is designed to spur competitive, resilient market systems in Kenya’s horticulture, fodder/feeds, dairy, poultry and agro-dealer sectors. Speaking during the launch, KCDMS Chief of Party, Tom Carr stated that the program has a grant component where successful applicants would be required to work with, sell to, or buy from the population located within the 12 counties thereby contributing towards significant impact on local livelihoods. He noted that KCDMS mission was to assist government entities, which support farmers, to be self-reliant. “Our intervention is not long-term, and we will be closing our operations at some point, but we want to leave these entities and the farmers self-reliant,” he said According to Hon. Franklin Bett, AFC Board Chairman, the intervention aligns with the Corporation’s new strategic direction which adopts innovative approaches to de-risking the ecosystem of AFC’s operations. On his part, Managing Director, Lucas Meso said the agreement was reached to promote access to funds for small-scale farmers who have become the backbone of food production in the country. “We will be monitoring the projects and will pump in more money should there be need. And with the near-collapse of all sugar factories, our people have been thrown into misery, and they have to get this funding so as to diversify their production,” said Meso. He further noted that farmers will be required to provide viable proposals, with complete plan on how to implement their projects. If approved by AFC upon assessment, they will be given the funds which will carter for set-up and operation capital. “So long as you have good projects, AFC is here for you as long as the project will make a difference,” said Meso. Farmers who have previously benefited from the funding from the two entities noted that the blended finance program was the best thing to have happened as it will expand access to agricultural finance. The five-year program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is funded as part of Feed the Future, the US Government’s global hunger, food security initiative that helps to increase agricultural production, reduce poverty and malnutrition in Kenya.