AgricultureFarming

Kakamega county fund that helped farmers, traders folds up

Out of the Sh70m the county invested in the fund, only Sh31m was recovered from the traders and farmers.

Story Highlights
  • “After realising the challenge in recovering the money lent out, we had no option but to stop putting more money into it [the fund] and instead come up with an alternative structure in place of the initiative whose sustainability became a challenge,” the governor said.
  • Deputy governor Philip Kutima said Kakamega was one of the few counties that attracted many partners because of good leadership and structures put in place by Oparanya.

A fund established by Kakamega county to assist smallholder farmers and other small-scale traders have access to affordable credit has folded up.

The Mkopo Mashinani fund that was domiciled in the Trade department has collapsed after majority of the borrowers defaulted repaying their loans, making it unsustainable for the county government.

Out of the Sh70m the county invested in the fund, only Sh31m was recovered from the traders and farmers.

The fund was launched in the 2015/16 financial year by Governor Wycliffe Oparanya. It was aimed at supporting business people to grow their businesses by accessing affordable loans.

While addressing farmer organisations’ representatives at the Bukura Agricultural Training Centre on Friday, Oparanya revealed that the county was pursuing defaulters to have them pay back the money they borrowed since it was taxpayers’ money.

“After realising the challenge in recovering the money lent out, we had no option but to stop putting more money into it [the fund] and instead come up with an alternative structure in place of the initiative whose sustainability became a challenge,” the governor said.

He said they have established the Kakamega County Investment Agency to serve business community and farmers.

“The agency has structures and mechanism they use to ensure that loans beneficiaries pay back when they borrow,” he added.

Oparanya said that the county has identified an investor to put up the Shinyalu Tea Factory which had stalled.

He said that his administration has set aside Sh100m in the current budget for the project.

He announced that the construction of the Malava milk processing plant will be complete before the end of the year.

He said that the county government in conjunction with USAID would equip the factory to the tune of Sh450m.

Oparanya said the county was investing in promotion of agricultural activities to ensure the area was food sufficient and help farmers earn more.

“Kakamega is an agricultural county where people rely on farming to earn a living. My government is committed to supporting farmers to achieve their goals,” Oparanya said.

He said since introduction of subsidised farm input by the county, maize production has improved significantly.

He said Sh450 million will be used for the farm input programme.

The declared that every February 22 will be a Farmers’ Day in the county where he will have time to share ideas with farmers.

Deputy governor Philip Kutima said Kakamega was one of the few counties that attracted many partners because of good leadership and structures put in place by Oparanya.

He challenged farmers to take advantage of the support from the county to help them make more money.

Via
Hilton Otenyo
Source
The Star

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