Agricultural Finance Corporation has waived interest on loans to farmers in the Rift Valley province.
The organisation took the decision after realising that most farmers are unable to service their loans over what they termed as exorbitant interest over the years. Farmers, who will benefit from the waiver are those who took loans between 2003 and 2009.
While making the announcement to farmers in Eldoret on behalf of Agriculture minister Sally Kosgei, Kenya Farmers Association director Kipkorir Menjo said they will continue to push the government to write off all the loans. Under the agreement, only the farmers will only pay back the principle amount they had borrowed. "We called on the government to review this plan and waive the entire loan plus the principle amount. We want it to waive all the loans just like it did to coffee farmers in Central province," said Menjo. He claimed that the government is engaging in double standards when it comes to addressing the plight of farmers in region.
During a recent visit to farmers in the region, Kosgei said the government will not write off the Sh4.5 billion farmers owe the AFC in loans. She, however, said the government will negotiate with the farmers on the repayment of the money. The announcement on the loans interest waiver has been received with mixed reaction with majority of farmers terming it a piece meal deal. They asked the government to write off the AFC loans just like it did to coffee farmers in Central province.
Farmers in the North Rift region are alarmed by the AFC threat to auction their property over failure to repay their loans. However, Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers chairman William Kimosong, has said farmers are unable to repay the loans because of crop failure caused by drought that hit the region in the last few years.