Partnership boost for small farmers

May 20, 2009

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 20 – Equity Bank has entered a partnership agreement with Amiran Kenya Limited that will enable small scale farmers access affordable credit to finance commercial agriculture.

Speaking during 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 fight the war on hunger.

“The only way to fight hunger is if farmers are able to access money that helps them finance their farming activities… and I am therefore glad of this partnership with Equity Bank,” he said.

Mr Moskovich was quick to point out that it was necessary to improve the standards of living of farmers to avoid an influx of people in 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.”

Equity Bank Chief Executive Dr James Mwangi said that Kenya could only confront chronic hunger and famine by applying modern agriculture 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,” Dr Mwangi said.

The partnership will see small scale farmers’ access credit from Equity Bank to finance modern agricultural inputs provided by Amiran Kenya.

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 Sh40,000 to Sh100,000 depending on the specific requirements of the farmer.

Agriculture Minister William Ruto welcomed the partnership but was quick to stress the need to involve the younger generation in agricultural matters, because the future sustainability of the sector depended on how many would take an interest in it.

“The average age of a farmer is 60 years. If you are talking about new ideas, new varieties in yields, we would be able to transform faster if the young people in this country took up farming like a career like any other.”

Amiran is part of the Balton group of companies and has been in the country since independence. It has been a driving force behind horticulture and floriculture in Kenya but has since expanded services to telecommunications, water purification and more.

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