Deputy President William Ruto wants the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) to review its business model so as to support more farmers in food production. He said some of the company’s approach to issues on agriculture had been overtaken by events, and needed a real-time readjustment. “We would like to see AFC featuring prominently in aiding the government attain its Big Four agenda.
That way, we would make Kenya a food-secure country,” said Mr Ruto during a briefing from the AFC management at his Karen office on Thursday. The Deputy President noted that it was time AFC treated agriculture as a business whose goal is making profit. Besides making Kenya food stable, he said the new model would also act as a bait to youths who have traditionally shunned farming. Mr Ruto said a review of the laws slugging the operations of the AFC should also be carried out “so as to expand its mandate and access to more resources”.
“You should also strike right and valuable partnerships so that the desired impact of your projects can be felt as wide as possible. New operation lines such as poultry and horticulture should also be cultivated; these are valuable ventures if clearly targeted,” said Mr Ruto. The Deputy President called on the AFC to continue exploiting its long relationship with farmers but urged it to carefully assess the ability of farmers to honour their obligations.
“Where farmers’ production is impacted negatively by unforeseen circumstances such as poor weather, then we should think of an insurance scheme to guard against such,” said the Deputy President. With limited capacity and budget constraints, AFC stated that it is seeking additional resources to support the Big Four Agenda.
Chief Executive Officer Lucas Meso said if they secured more funds, they would establish one storage facility in every county across the country. “The funds would also see at least 1.5 million smallholder farmers access credit for inputs and modern production technologies such as irrigation kits,” said Mr Meso.
Ultimately, Mr Meso said, this would result to more than 600,000 metric tonnes of subsidised fertilisers distributed annually besides 400 large scale farmers each contracted to develop 500 acres of maize to meet 50 per cent of the strategic food reserve.