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Farmers to get loans in US agency, saccos deal

KUSCO

Kuscco national chairperson George Magutu. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • The programme, dubbed Kilimo Loan, was established in November 2016 in partnership with Kuscco’s international affiliate World Council of Credit Unions and has so far disbursed Sh19 million through eight saccos in the Mount Kenya region.

Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives (Kuscco) is eyeing disbursement of more loans to Kenyan farmers after securing funds from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The deal, according to the union, will enable farmers to access loans to improve their incomes by increasing access to markets and finance.

The programme, dubbed Kilimo Loan, was established in November 2016 in partnership with Kuscco’s international affiliate World Council of Credit Unions and has so far disbursed Sh19 million through eight saccos in the Mount Kenya region.

Kuscco says the loans to smallholder growers has benefited more than 2,000 farmers since 2017.

“As you are aware, many financial institutions shy away from lending to farmers terming them ‘high-risk.’

“However, we encourage saccos to embrace lending to farmers by appraising loans effectively,” national chairperson George Magutu said at the launch of Kilimo Loan on Thursday.

Kuscco provides loans to saccos which in turn disburse the funds to farmers at an interest of 13.5 per cent over a payment period of up to 24 months. The payment period varies depending on crop maturity, starting from 6 months for short term crops.

Through the scheme, Kuscco also offers a crop insurance option in partnership with Acre Africa to cushion farmers against losses related to climate change, pests and other causes of low yields.