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Bank boosts livestock farmers with Sh1b kitty

Bank boosts livestock farmers with Sh1b kitty

Photo of a herder in Marsabit County.
The fund will boost livestock farmers in arid and semi arid areas.

Interest

free fund will increase productivity as well as increase farmers’ incomes.

Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) has established a Sh1 billion revolving fund for livestock farmers in Arid and Semi-Arid areas (Asal). The credit is designed to commercialize livestock industry and enable farmers increase production as well as income. KCB Foundation Manager Rachel Gathoni, in an interview last week said the fund will be interest-free. For farmers to benefit from the kitty, they must be in groups such as cooperative societies to ensure security provision to the individual borrower. “We intend to reach as many livestock farmers in the Asal areas as possible with the view of boosting their livelihoods. Further, we expect the support will lead to high output to meet the increasing demand of livestock products in the local as well as the global market,” said Ms Gathoni.

The Sh30 million pilot project was commissioned in May this year, in Baringo County targeting 50,000 farmers where they are being vetted and organised into groups. “Doing so is to enable us assist the farmers build up a strong credit history so that they can even access more loans,” she added. The kitty enable farmers improve nutrition and health of their livestock and help facilitate their access to the market. The programme addresses value addition and will be rolled out to all 47 counties next year. Majority of the leather livestock products, mostly skins and hides are exported in raw form and semi-finished due to lack of capacity by local manufacturers to carry out value addition. Value addition The Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development early this year launched a five year strategic plan that seeks to boost industrialization and enhance value addition on leather products.

Value addition in leather industry has remained low over the years but the situation has been changing since 2004 when the Government introduced export taxes on leather products in a bid to enable the industry earn more for the country. In this year’s budget, the Government allocated Sh3 billion for the leather and textile industry. Industrialisation and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed in an interview last week, disclosed that the local leather industry has a capacity to make up to Sh55 billion to the Gross Domestic Product. Despite huge demand for leather and its products, Mohamed regretted the demand is heavily reliant on imported supplies against a current local supply of less than four million units annually. Gathoni said this will increase farmers productivity to meet the increasing demand of red meat in the global market. “Kenya is net exporter of red meat. Arab countries sometimes order meat locally but local traders cannot meet the demand due to low production,” she noted

She observed that the bank’s initiative is meant to eradicate poverty and enhance financial inclusion. “Once farmers borrow the money and utilise it well, income on meat and dairy products will increase by 50 per cent and 400 per cent respectively,” she explained.

Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/business/article/2000129037/bank-boosts-livestock-farmers-with-sh1b-kitty?pageNo=1

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