Agricultural Finance Corporation is restructuring the institution and operations in order to reflect new key business areas on a need basis, Chairman Franklin Bett has said today.
As a finance institution, he said they are driving towards an agricultural bank that is meant for farmers but also looking at the youths, women and physically challenged who don’t have collateral.
“We have already done the bench marking on other AFCS outside the country and tapped on their AFC and we have finalised the strategic plan with the intention of being able to actualise the wish of AFC to be an agricultural bank,” he added.
Bett who was speaking during the inauguration of the New Managing Director, George Kubai, in Nairobi today further said in the next one-month AFC will be launching the strategic plan that will get the institution improved on not only SMEs but largely in the agriculture sector.
“We are a talking financial institution listening to farmers and we normally re structure the repayment scheduled so that farmers are not burdened,” the chairman said.
He noted that the new MD brings with him experience having worked in both the private sector as a banker and also offering leadership in the public sector thus has a good understanding of the business.
Having obtained the confidence of the AFC board and also the both Agriculture and Treasury Cabinet Secretaries, Bett said the new MD is well paced to steer forward AFC and is joining the institution at a critical and digital time when they want to turn it around towards a more impactful AFC felt in every corner of the republic.
The chairman assured the new MD that the board will support him wholly in steering the team in mobilising and deploying investment to the agriculture value chain actors across the country but also called upon management, stakeholders and also partners to accord him support during his tenure.
George Kubai, the new MD said he is looking at revamping AFC to be coming more responsive to the need of farmers, come up with an institution that is agile and responsible.
“We will be able to achieve through production differentiation, reach out to farmers all over the country and look at re-modelling our products offering to address farmers needs despite which area they are across the country and also on their specific needs,” he said.
Rose Ochanda, the Corporation Secretary and who was the ag. MD for the last 5 months said currently they are initiating a Women Affirmative Access Window (WAAW) programme to ensure women are included.
“Through the UN women programme we have so far disbursed Ksh. 1 billion and working to ensure women are trained to take up agricultural activities efficiently and also commercially so that they benefit the community at large,” she said.
Ochanda further said the money which they started disbursing at the beginning of the last financial year targets women who engaged in the agricultural value chain. “We are targeting Ksh. 3 billion under this programme,” she added.
Bonano Badia, head of Credit at AFC said in the strategic plan they have catalysed Ksh. 110 billion into the sector they intend to do in in three years.
“This year and the next we intend to use around Ksh. 30 billion in areas such as financial inclusion and technology that is not happening a lot in this sector,” he said. Mentioning that the financial inclusion is bleeding and the country has a big population in upper eastern that is excluded financially but also the youth and women who need financial institutions.
Currently the level of mechanisation the sector is grappling with is around 20 percent compared to other countries who are at 30 percent and according to Badia, AFC is working with IFAD on guaranteeing farmers who are excluded by way of collateral and this will push their envelopes forward.
Some of the key highlights of the AFC strategic plan is aligning the initiative with government development priorities, address insufficient lending to agriculture by private sector and also explore solutions for liquidity constraints faced by the cooperation.