Building capacities of small scale farmers through PROFIT
Agriculture remains the backbone of Kenya’s economy, directly contributing 24% of the annual GDP and another 27% indirect contribution. The sector is therefore critical in creating employment and uplifting the living standards of the Kenyan people. It is against this background that agriculture has been identified as one of the key sectors to deliver the 10 per cent annual economic growth rate envisaged in the economic pillar of the Kenyan Vision 2030. This growth will be achieved through transforming small-scale agriculture from subsistence to innovative commercially oriented and modern agriculture. The significance of agriculture in the Kenyan economy is well exhibited in the recently launched government’s agenda to support and improve the economy dubbed “The Big Four”. Which highlights 4 key immediate priorities areas namely; Manufacturing, Housing, Food & Nutrition Security and Housing.
In Kenya’s eastern region in Machakos County about 80km from the capital city of Nairobi in Kathiani village we meet a poultry farmer Mrs. Sabina Munguti, a mother of 4 and 1 grandchild. “I thank God because when I started, women were really struggling in business without knowledge on how to run a successful business and also using modern agricultural farm inputs that can bring better yields. I am happy that I am able to trade and involve other women. I help build their capacities and make them believe that you can actually start small and grow from it”.
Mrs. Munguti is a beneficiary of a loan and equipment (chaff cutter) from the Universal Traders Sacco (UTS). With the support from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), in partnership with the Agricultural Finance Cooperation (AFC), the Sacco has managed to disburse Kshs. 12.8 million to 112 farmers since January this year to its individual members as well as groups.
The Program for Rural Outreach of Financial Innovations and Technologies (PROFIT) is financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Government of Kenya and AGRA. The Programme is implemented under the Directorate of Budget, Fiscal & Economic Affairs, National Treasury through agreements with various partners including AGRA. UTS received a loan of 100 million from the Agricultural Finance Cooperation (AFC). AFC is a Participating Financial Institution (PFI) that has an agreement with AGRA in the implementation of the Risk Sharing Facility (RSF) that leverages on commercial lending from commercial banks to allow farmers and other value chain actors to access loans. So far, 8 SACCOs that are being supported on development of agrifinance products have been linked to AFC to receive wholesale funds for on lending to smallholder farmers.
Mrs Munguti has been a UTS Sacco member since 2010 in Machakos. She was introduced to the Sacco by a staff member who explained to her the various benefits as a member and also the various loan products on offer. Her enthusiasm led her to take up a loan from the Sacco which she used to buy chicks and she currently rears 600 chicken in her farm in addition to rabbits and cows. After seeing the potential in her, UTS decided to boost her farming activities and offered her a chaff cutting machine which she uses for animal feed. “I am really grateful for the machine which I can use to prepare all the animal feed that is required. It has significantly reduced the production time since I used to spend many hours preparing animal feed. Now I can dedicate the extra time on other activities in the farm” she says. Her dream is to start her own animal feed plant and supply to the local community since there is a gap in the area. She would also like to venture in farming of crops like sorghum and sunflower to boost the animal feed plant.
“I would like to be empowered so that I can also empower my fellow women in the community. My passion is to help and share knowledge especially with women”. She says.