The Agriculture Finance Corporation (AFC) has developed new financial delivery models to reach out to women who have been excluded in agricultural financing.
The models which include Women Affirmative Access Window, (WAAW), Microfinance Ride-on Access Window (MRAW) and Cooperative Ride-on Access Window (CRAW) target to scale up the uptake of agricultural finance services by women across the country.
AFC’s Head of Credit Bonano Badia said despite the enhanced access to agricultural financing in the country, the uptake of the services by women remained below 20 percent.
A baseline survey conducted by the corporation in partnership with UN Women, European Union and the Kenya Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), he said revealed that women remained financially excluded not only due to lack of collaterals but also due to high financial illiteracy levels, lack of markets for agri-products and absence of extension services.
The corporation, he said, has rolled out capacity building programs for women across the country to sensitize them on the new products to enable them take up credit to venture into agriculture.
Speaking in Kisumu on Thursday, Badia said women constituted the bulk of farmers in the country adding that through encouraging them to take up agricultural financing the country stands to realize food security as envisioned in the government’s big four agenda.
“On sugarcane which is grown in this region, AFC has pumped Sh. 2 billion but out of this very little has benefitted women,” he said.
Badia called for collaboration with county governments and other stakeholders to ensure that women actively take up agricultural financing.
“We must change the narrative and encourage women and youth to take advantage of the various models of financing to venture into farming as a business,” he said.
Speaking during the same occasion, Kisumu Deputy Governor Dr. Mathews Owili lauded the efforts by AFC pledging the county government’s support to rally women in taking up the new products.
The county government, he said, has put structures in place including creation of Savings and Credit Societies (SACCO’s) through which women shall be supported to access credit from.
He added that the county has land which is available for development and agriculture through partnerships to boost the sector.
“The county government of Kisumu has made agriculture a top priority to boost food security and create jobs for youths and women,” he said.
The county department for agriculture, he disclosed, received Sh. 749, 546, 655 this financial year to fund various programs across the country.
He pointed out the establishment of the Sh. 30 million Gem Rai irrigation scheme where women shall be engaged in rice farming.
By Sophy Adhiambo and Chris Mahandara