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Economy

Uhuru woos cereal, livestock farmers with Sh1.5 bn loan waiver

President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi. PHOTO | WILLIAM OERI | NMG
President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | WILLIAM OERI | NMG 

The government has waived a Sh1.5 billion loan owed by wheat, sorghum and livestock farmers in Kajiado, Narok and Baringo counties to the State's agricultural credit institution.

In a statement sent to newsrooms on Monday, State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu said the waiver of a loan owed to the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) is part of government move to ease financial pressure on farmers across the country.

“The loans were taken to support wheat, sorghum and livestock farming, but capricious weather led to heavy farm losses and farmers were unable to repay. AFC had continued to hold onto land title deeds taken as collateral for the loans,” he said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the National Treasury in collaboration with AFC to return title deeds used as collateral by the farmers to take up the loans.

“Samburu was also affected by the AFC distress and the President is likely to announce similar relief when he visits the county in the coming days,” Mr Esipisu said.

Courting farmers

The move is among a raft of directives issued by the president recently as the country counts down to the August 7 election.

Last month, Mr Kenyatta facilitated the payment of wage arrears dating back 10 years to 25,000 Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) workers amounting to Sh250 million.

Dairy farmers in Meru are also beneficiaries of a Sh475 million debt waiver owed to the Meru Dairy Union as well as Sh478 million owed to the Coffee farmers’ Saccos.

“President Kenyatta has also waived loans amounting to Sh25 million Bunyala Fishermen Cooperative Society owed to the AFC and and Sh1.7 billion on STABEX funds through the Cooperative Bank of Kenya in the coffee growing zones of Central and Eastern Kenya and Kisii,” Mr Esipisu added in the statement.

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