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World Bank to finance 30,000 small farmers in Africa

Thursday July 14, 2011

The World Bank has earmarked US$34m (about sh 85bn) to support over 30,000 small holder farmers involved in sustainable agricultural production.

The World Bank is working with Centenary Bank through which the money will be extended to small holder farmers across the country. This was contained in a statement from the bank, released recently.

“We hope that the funds will improve the mix of products and services to clients while targeting different value chains such as coffee, maize and livestock,” said Fabian Kassi, the managing director, Centernary Bank.

According to Kassi, part of the money will be used to roll out e-banking products to rural areas and train staff in advanced agricultural lending methods, like structured financing, contract farming, trade financing including warehouse receipts and linkage banking before they can spread out the money.

Centenary Bank is contributing $1.1 million while the World Bank’s Agriculture Finance Support Facility (AgriFin) is contributing an additional $1 million to support the program.

AgriFin's goal is to assist financial institutions to improve and expand their services to commercial smallholder farmers and SMES by building their capacity and systems.

The Centenary Bank-AgriFin project is the 2nd in Africa with a similar one only in Rwanda. 17 percent of the bank's lending portfolio is in agriculture against the industry average of 6.5 percent.

AgriFin, which is part of the World Bank's Agricultural and Rural Development Department programme, co-finances innovative proposals from financial institutions in Africa and Asia to develop their value chain finance business lines.

“I am glad that we are partnering with a farmer-oriented Bank to implement this program. We hope that this small initiative in addition to what we are already investing in the agriculture sector will make a big difference for Ugandan farmers,” said Kapil Kapoor, Ag. World Bank Uganda Country Manager.

The New Vision Newspaper

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