Kenya pledges financial incentives to spur growth of agribusiness startups

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-21 22:47:23|Editor: yan
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NAIROBI, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Kenya will partner with multilateral lenders and local banks to roll out innovative financing schemes that can spur the growth of agribusiness startups, officials said on Thursday.

Hamadi Boga, principal secretary in the state department of crop development and agricultural research, said the government has created a friendly regulatory environment to boost lending to start-ups in the agricultural value chains.

"We are committed to supporting the growth of startups that are engaged in critical agriculture value chains like processing, value addition and marketing," said Boga.

This support will revolve around access to credit and building their capacity to compete in the local and international agricultural commodities market," he added.

Boga spoke during a ceremony to award 450 million shillings (about 4.5 million dollars) to eight local agri-enterprises that emerged winners of a challenge fund initiated by multilateral lenders and a local bank.

The challenge fund which is supported by the European Union (EU) and managed by an international development charity, Self Help Africa, aims to strengthen the financial capacity of agri-business startups that are helping smallholder farmers increase production while linking them to the markets.

Boga said that innovative financing will unlock the potential of small-scale agribusinesses, boost food security and poverty eradication in rural areas.

"Some of the options we have on the table to boost lending for startups involved in key agricultural value chains include match funding to help pool resources from both the public and private sectors," said Boga.

Simon Mordue, the EU ambassador to Kenya, said that multilateral lenders are keen to support the growth of Kenya's agri-enterprises in order to spur economic growth, boost food security and rural incomes.

"Our objective is to support rise of local Agri enterprises and enhance their competitiveness and contribution to Kenya's economic transformation," said Mordue.

Rebecca Amukhoye, country director for Self Help Africa, said that agribusiness startups can leverage on government support and private sector capital to expand their outreach to smallholder farmers.