Relief for farmers as State waives Sh1.5bn in AFC loans

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By KENNEDY KIMANTHI
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The government has waived Sh1.5 billion in loans owed to the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) by cereal and livestock farmers in Kajiado, Narok and Baringo counties.

In a statement sent to newsrooms on Monday, State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said the waiver is part of the government’s initiative to ease financial pressure on farmers across the country.

“The loans were taken to support wheat, sorghum and livestock farming, but capricious weather led to heavy farm losses and farmers were unable to repay. AFC had continued to hold onto land title deeds taken as collateral for the loans,” he said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the National Treasury to collaborate with AFC and return the title deeds to the farmers.

“The waiver in respect of the AFC loans is the latest in unprecedented relief the President has ordered over the last three months for distressed farmers as part of his agenda to bolster agriculture.

“Samburu was also affected by the AFC distress and the President is likely to announce similar relief when he visits the county in the coming days,” Mr Esipisu said.

Last month, President Kenyatta facilitated the payment of wage arrears dating back 10 years to 25,000 Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) workers amounting to Sh250 million.

Dairy farmers in Meru are also beneficiaries of a Sh475 million waiver of debt owed to the Meru Dairy Union as well as Sh478 million owed to the coffee farmers’ saccos.

“President Kenyatta has also waived loans amounting to Sh25 million [owed by] Bunyala Fishermen Cooperative Society to the AFC and Sh1.7 billion on STABEX funds through the Cooperative Bank of Kenya in the coffee growing zones of Central and Eastern Kenya and Kisii,” Mr Esipisu said.

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