23 May 2009

Kenya: Equity Bank, Amiran Kenya Partner to Boost Food Security

Nairobi — Equity Bank and Amiran Kenya Limited have partnered to enhance food security.

Small scale farmers in Kenya are set to benefit from a funding agreement the two signed last week.

Millions of them will have access to affordable credit to finance commercial agriculture.

Under the new partnership, Kenya 's small scale farmers will access credit from Equity Bank to finance modern agricultural inputs provided by Amiran Kenya . These agricultural inputs, which meet the highest standards of the European Union, include drip irrigation, farmer's green houses, quality seeds, fertilizers, agro-chemicals and tailored training from Amiran's team of expert agronomists, all packaged into the Amiran Farmer's Kit (AFK).

At the signing of the agreement, Amiran Managing Director, Pinchas Moskovich said it was becoming increasingly necessary to finance farmers if the country was to seriously win the war on hunger. "The only way to fight hunger is by farmers becoming able to access money that helps them finance their farming activities. I am therefore glad of this partnership with Equity Bank," he said.

Equity Bank so far has the largest branch network and reaches literally most of the small scale farmers in Kenya 's rural settlements. Moskovich said it was necessary to improve the standards of living of farmers to avoid an influx of people to urban areas.

"We need to make farmers comfortable where they are and earn a living from their farms so that they don't come to towns like Nairobi and create more slums," he stressed. Equity Bank Chief Executive Officer Dr. James Mwangi said Kenya could only confront chronic hunger and famine by applying modern agricultural practices that put more emphasis on value addition.

"To deal with the vicious cycle of hunger and drought, players in the agricultural sector need to forge new partnerships which strengthen agricultural value chains and ultimately promote commercial agriculture," Mwangi said.

The Farmers Kit will have a drip irrigation system, quality seeds, agrochemicals, fertilizers and a state-of-the-art farmer's green house, ranging from KShs40, 000 to KShs100, 000 depending on the specific requirements of the farmer.

Amiran is part of the Balton Group of companies and has been in the country since 1963. It has been a driving force behind horticulture and floriculture in Kenya but has since expanded services to telecommunications, solar energy, generators and water purification. Through its social approach to banking, Equity Bank has rolled out unique products and services to support farmers in commercializing farming through affordable financial products. Equity has been partnering with various development partners in the private and public sector to support the agricultural value chain. In 2008, Equity Bank partnered with Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Kenya to launch Kilimo Biashara, a credit facility to assist small scale Kenyan grain farmer's access affordable credit. Equity also rolled out Mifugo Biashara and Uvuvi Biashara to support livestock and fish farmers respectively.

Copyright © 2009 East African Business Week. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.