Equity Group Foundation through its Agriculture Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme is committing Ksh20 billion in the next five years in a plan to transform farming into commercial ventures through loans to medium-sized farmers. The funding seeks to benefit farmers with 10-100 acres to turn farming into serious commercial enterprises in order to enhance food security and bridge the annual deficit.
The project seeks to increase on-farm profits and reinvestment in agriculture for medium-size farms in key food crops across Kenya by building their capacities to increase farm production, enhance market linkages, improve agripreneurial skills and reduce farming costs and risks. The project is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Nairobi and Equity Bank and is implemented by Equity Group Foundation.
The scheme will see beneficiaries get a minimum of Ksh1 million with the bank targeting 20,000 farmers under the programme.
Kenya is faced with food insecurity issues due to low productivity, low technology use and effects of climate change. This has seen the country resorting to importing food from other countries hence drowning the foreign exchange.
Agriculture being a key area for Equity Group, it supports about 70 per cent of the population particularly those in the rural areas and contributes about 25 per cent to the GDP. Equity Group strives to support this sector through various interventions, one of which is capacity development in entrepreneurship.
The bank and the embassy of Netherlands have been running the three-year Kshs341 million Agriculture Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme that targeted medium-sized farmers in Eastern, Central and Rift Valley regions.