Monthly Archives: September 2012

Development of Agriculture-NALEP Initiative;

Agriculture is central to Kenyans and support about 80% of the population outside urban areas. 60% of the Kenyan export is produced in agriculture.
To develop and increase productivity in the rural sector in Kenya, Sweden has contributed in constructing NALEP; National Agriculture and Livestock Extension Programme. They are providing education, training and consulting for more than 500 000
people organized in Common Interest Groups who work with farming, fishing or cattle. Outside Nakuru there is a self-help group that with the support of NALEP is raising and selling tree-plants.



Farmers ask for new channels to disburse subsidised loans;

farmers-now-asking-for-loans

By MWANIKI WAHOME jwahome@ke.nationmedia.com Posted Monday, September 24 2012 at 19:00

IN SUMMARY

Stakeholders say the current system is fraught with complications that include lengthy procedures and unfavourable loan repayment structures that have prevented many farmers from accessing the loans.
Experts say the agriculture sector attracts just three per cent of total lending in the country despite contributing a quarter of the national wealth.
According to the Ministry of Finance, the sector requires Sh130 billion annually, but only about Sh40 billion is available

There is a need for new channels to disburse loans to farmers after commercial banks failed to advance about Sh450 million, stakeholders have said.

The funds were provided through Kilimo Biashara, a joint initiative between the Ministry of Agriculture, Equity Bank, Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA),and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

It was set up four years ago with the objective of increasing funding to the sector. AGRA provided $50 million (Sh4.2 billion) in 2008 to be lent to farmers through local banks at subsidised rates.

The government was to match every Sh1 with Sh10 to boost the fund. Initially, Sh700 million was provided as guarantee that would have built the fund to Sh7 billion.

Stakeholders say the current system is fraught with complications that include lengthy procedures and unfavourable loan repayment structures that have prevented many farmers from accessing the loans.

“The government should have a policy that encourages commercial banks to fund the sector. Funds channelled through them seem to move slowly as if banks have no interest in their disbursement. These funds are traded in the money market, where they earn more and the banks seem to reluctantly lend to farmers.

How many banks have advertised the funds like other classes of business?” asks Mr Paul Mbuni, an agribusiness expert.

Agriculture permanent secretary Romano Kiome said the fund needs to be expanded and deepened to have an impact on the sector.

Last year, Agriculture minister Sally Kosgei said part of the problem was that banks hardly understood the agricultural industry, leading to poor uptake of loans even when money is available.

Experts say the agriculture sector attracts just three per cent of total lending in the country despite contributing a quarter of the national wealth.

Mr Mbuni said in the long term, the Agricultural Finance Corporation should be turned into a fully-fledged farmers’ bank to anchor the financing of agriculture.

The slow movement of loans is despite recent studies by the government showing that lenders meet only 30 per cent of the credit required by farmers.
According to the Ministry of Finance, the sector requires Sh130 billion annually, but only about Sh40 billion is available.

Insufficient funding

“The government’s efforts to raise cheap funds through collaboration with donors is commendable but unfortunately banks are commercial and the lending conditions are the same, and most times unfavourable to farmers,” said Dr John Mutunga, from the Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers.

Agriculture has been attracting funding in recent years but the levels are said to be insufficient for a sector that contributes 25 per cent to national wealth.

According to experts, many banks are still hesitant to lend to farmers due to perceived risks, particularly brought about by climate change.

The government had in past years decreed that banks lend a certain threshold to agriculture, but this failed as banks turned to the less risky trading in government paper.

CIC Insurance managing director Nelson Kuria has repeatedly called for re-insurance to the sector by the government to encourage more financial institutions to loan to farmers.

He said lack of risk assessment instruments, un-coordinated markets, and unpredictable weather are among the hindrances to increased funding of the sector.

Kofi Annan Calls for United Effort to Accelerate African Green Revolution

African heads of state, industry representatives, the international donor community and farmers  will meet in Ghana at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in the first week of September. Delegates will create an action plan on the acceleration of a Green Revolution in Africa. Chaired by Kofi Annan, chair of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), this is the first time the forum will be held in Africa. It is expected to be one of the continent’s major gatherings of both public and private players to focus solely on agriculture development. Available video includes an edited package and soundbites from Kofi Annan and the CEOs from Yara International and Standard Bank Africa.

State to carry out Farmers Census:

By RENSON MNYAMWEZI

The Government will carry out a Sh2 billion farmers’ census to gather data for better planning. Agriculture Permanent Secretary Dr. Romano Kiome said the one-and-a-half-year programme would help the Government develop comprehensive software for all farmers and identify problems affecting them. It will also help in policy making and planning for prosperity in the agricultural sector.
“We are sending staff to Rome next month for training to familiarise themselves with how to conduct the important exercise. It will help the Government to know how many farmers it will deal with,” said the permanent secretary. Dr Kiome made the remarks in Taita-Taveta County after inspecting Kenya Agricultural Productivity and Agribusiness and Kenya Agricultural productivity and Sustainable Land Management Projects. The region is among 20 counties that have benefited from donor funds to improve agriculture. So far, the Government has spent more than Sh7.5 million for sustainable agribusiness activities to help eradicate poverty in the region.

Not satisfactory
Speaking in Wundanyi town accompanied by Taita DC Njenga Miiri and top Ministry of Agriculture senior officials, Kiome said he was not satisfied with the way the agricultural projects had been implemented in the region. The PS criticised senior officials of the project for engaging more in workshops rather than concentrating on service delivery.

“The impact of the project is still far below average. By now the project should have made some difference in terms of output and poverty alleviation, but this is not the case,” he said. He added: “Your interventions are too small yet money was allocated to implement such viable projects to improve the living standards of the local community. I want to know how many people have moved out of poverty to riches and how many have moved from hunger to food secure.”

The PS told the ministry staff that it was time to move out of workshops and focus more on agribusiness to help farmers add value to their products. He said it was high time the farmers diversified from small scale to commercial agriculture to reap maximum benefits from their produce. “You have not done the baseline management process for resource management of the projects. This should be done in the next two weeks to improve the implementation of the projects at the farm level,” he said.

Mr Miiri noted the region was endowed with enormous resources like wildlife, water and minerals yet poverty levels were high. He said the available resources had not been effectively tapped to benefit the local community.

“The region is third in terms of resources in the country, but this may not be translated to the living standards of the local community,” said Miiri.

The DC noted, however, that frequent wildlife invasion was also partly to blame for low agricultural production and persistent famine in the region.
Source: Standard Digital, Thursday 6th September 2012.

Farmers to reap from Business planning Skills:

IN SUMMARY

The first batch of 128 farmers graduated in Webuye at the weekend after a month’s training supported by the United Nations Development Programme, European Union and Ministry of Trade. The farmers are gaining skills in horticulture, dairy and fish farming as well as entrepreneurship.

Further, trainers introduce them to business planning, project management and record keeping — to enable the farmers run their farms as businesses. Hundreds of small-scale farmers in Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties stand to benefit from a training on how to turn farming into successful agribusinesses.

The first batch of 128 farmers graduated in Webuye at the weekend after a month’s training supported by the United Nations Development Programme, European Union and Ministry of Trade. The farmers are gaining skills in horticulture, dairy and fish farming as well as entrepreneurship.

Further, trainers introduce them to business planning, project management and record keeping — to enable the farmers run their farms as businesses. Speaking at the graduation ceremony in Webuye Guest House, Ms Anne Wafula of the Association of Growth Oriented Enterprises (AGOE) which coordinated the training said the programme will improve the farmers’ capacity to realise food security. Ms Janet Kundu from Bumula in Bungoma County said the project management training had helped her to improve her vegetable farming.

“I have learnt that I should not wait for people to come and buy vegetables on the farm, I should go out and get a market, in doing so, I can bargain for a better price,’’ she said.

UNDP representative Herbert Lusweti and Mr Samwel Otieno, Ministry of Trade’s Assistance to Micro and Small Enterprises Programme (ASMEP) manager, asked the trainees to use the skills gained to improve their lives.

Source: Daily Nation, Tuesday 4th September 2012.

Wholesale Commodity prices for 5th September 2012

Wholesale Commodity prices for 4th September 2012

Wholesale Commodity prices for 3rd September 2012

Wholesale Commodity prices for 31st August 2012

Wholesale Commodity prices for 30th August 2012