AFC eases loan conditions

February 17, 2009

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 17 – The Agricultural Finance Corporation is working on loan rescheduling options for farmers who have been affected by the current drought.

Deputy Managing Director Nasieku Tarayia said that the move was aimed at ensuring that farmers are empowered to continue with their farming activities.

“We have got rescheduling of loans where we tell farmers that if their case is absolutely genuine instead of you paying this year, they can pay next year or next year but one,” she said and added: “We want to know how AFC can help.”

She told Capital News  in an interview that she wanted affected farmers to also consider a re-financing option.

”We have the most important one which is re-financing which is actually the best option in this case,” she pointed out.

However, she stated that lack of financing to the corporation has limited ability to aid farmers.

“Unfortunately, our hands are completely tied up by the fact that we have got very little that has come into AFC,” she said.

Kenya is facing a major drought that has affected all regions in the country with over 10 million people countrywide facing hunger and starvation after a poor harvest, crop failure and rising commodity prices.

Subsequently, the government declared a state of emergency over the food crisis on January 9 this year and appealed for food aid.

The above situation has been aggravated by the effects of the post election violence that affected most parts of the country leaving many people displaced and unable to cultivate their farms.

This was further worsened after thousands of others were affected by flash floods in the later part of the year, with devastating destruction of farmlands, properties, and water and sanitation infrastructure.

This complex emergency has impacted negatively to livelihoods in most of the affected areas, with the most vulnerable groups being those living in urban slums, pastoralists and farmers in remote, arid and semi-arid lands.

In the pastoral areas, average walking distance to water has doubled and exerted undue pressure on existing boreholes that serve both humans and livestock.

Pasture in pastoral areas are getting depleted and already distress movements of pastoralists have been reported all over the Eastern and Western rangelands thereby increasing friction between herders due to competition over pasture and water resulting in loss of lives.

Livestock body conditions are deteriorating and diseases are on the increase.

In light of the current circumstances, both lives and livelihoods of affected communities are at risk unless urgent measures are taken to save lives and ensure early recovery from the devastating effects of the current drought.

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