Kenyan farmers receive $2mn boost for fertilizer access

African woman in traditional clothes standing, looking, hand to eyes, in field of barley or wheat crops at sunset or sunrise

The Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism has initiated a project aimed at providing nearly 8,000 tons of fertilizers to 100,000 smallholder farmers across the country. This initiative seeks to increase agricultural harvests and boost farmer incomes.

The project, known as the Fertilizer Financing for Sustainable Agriculture Management Project, involves a $2 million partial trade credit guarantee and a $219,000 grant extended to Apollo Agriculture Limited, a Kenyan agribusiness firm. This financial support is designed to facilitate the company’s sales of fertilizers to local farmers. Additionally, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation has contributed $10.15 million to support this initiative, highlighting the collaborative international effort to bolster Kenya’s agricultural sector.

The launch event, which took place on April 8 in Nairobi, saw the participation of representatives from the African Development Bank, which oversees the Financing Mechanism, as well as from Apollo Agriculture and both the Kenyan and Norwegian governments.

Smallholder farmers in Kenya often struggle with accessing the necessary financing to purchase fertilizers due to a lack of sufficient collateral. By offering a credit guarantee, the Mechanism encourages suppliers to provide fertilizers on credit, thereby reducing the risk associated with such transactions.

The initiative leverages Apollo Agriculture’s digital platform to connect farmers with agro-dealers and village-based agents, improving the distribution and availability of farming inputs on credit terms. The framework of this project includes various elements of Kenya’s agricultural sector, such as importers, blenders, and a government-led subsidy program.

The project is already underway in Kenya’s Bungoma and Uasin Gishu counties, focusing primarily on maize production, with high expectations for increased yields in the harvest season beginning in September 2024. This effort is part of Kenya’s broader Vision 2030, which identifies agriculture as a pivotal sector for the country’s economic growth and food security.

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