Africa gets small scale agriculture fund

A $21.45 million fund has been launched to support microfinance for rural households and to finance smallscale investment in agriculture across Africa. In addition to the financing, technical assistance will also be provided to help microfinance institutions develop new products, improve business planning and develop legal and human resources capabilities. Microfinance institutions can help poor households in rural areas where no formal lending exists by supporting income-generating activities and reducing dependence on external help. Read more here.
Cosmas Butunyi

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Tanzania sets $30m for agriculture

Tanzanian Government has set aside over US$ 30m this financial year for rehabilitation and improvement of agricultural infrastructure in the country, it has been revealed. According to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives, the money will be used for rehabilitation and maintenance of agricultural infrastructure and capacity building in various forms to agricultural research institutions. The Minister also adduced that the agricultural infrastructure improvement scheme is a response to the increasing number of farmers in Tanzania. The number of farmers has kept increasing by 6% annually in Tanzania, a country with over 70% of its 40 plus million people depending upon agriculture for their survival. Read more here.
Francis Semwaza

Africa Governments Frustrated by Weak Farmer Credit Schemes

Though some African governments have invested significantly in agricultural credit schemes, weak oversight roles and interest rate distortions undermine their performance. This is because commercial banks are reluctant to effect borrower friendly terms demanded by governments due to internal management hurdles and limited sensitisation within the farming community. The high interest rates were mostly blamed on steep administrative costs incurred by participating banks that rendered the loans very risky in the market contrary to government expectations. Read more here.
Bernard Busuulwa

Banks coaxed to lend more to agriculture

Kenya’s Ministry of Finance has launched a programme in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) aimed at spurring lending to the agricultural sector. IFAD has extended a grant-loan of $29.31 million to Kenya to provide better access to financial services, increase incomes, and improve production and outputs in the rural smallholder farm and off-farm sectors. Commercial banks limit lending to the agricultural sector due to perceived high risks associated with it, which hampers smallholder farms’ efforts to increase productivity. Read more here.
Michael Karanja