No waivers for AFC loans defaulting farmers, says Bett
Sunday, May 26, 2019 21:00
By KITAVI MUTUA |
Farmers who obtained loans from Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) will have to repay them as the era of waiving state loans is long gone, the financier’s board chairman Franklin Bett warned Thursday.
Mr Bett who spoke in Kitui during a farmers’ sensitisation workshop organised by AFC the corporation would push ahead with loans recovery to give it enough money to help other farmers.
This, he said will enhance AFC’s contribution to the country’s food security — one of President Uhuru Kenyatta ‘Big Four’ agenda items, by helping more farmers access agribusiness loans.
“Going forward, we have agreed there be will be no waivers anymore. Anybody who wants financial support from AFC must be ready to pay back so that other Kenyans can benefit,” Mr Bett said.
He warned defaulters saying” tough measures will be taken” to recover the accruing amounts.
His warning came amid controversy over AFC’s decision last week to rescind an earlier waiver of loans which has shocked farmers in Tana River, Kajiado, Narok and Baringo counties.
Farmers within the vast Bura Irrigation Scheme in Tana River county were ordered to repay a Sh67.5 million loan which had been written off by the government during the 2017 campaign period.
However, the former Cabinet minister said having partnered with several global donor originations including the World Bank, UN Women, IFAD, which were financing the agency, AFC had no choice but to ensure all loans are repaid.
“AFC is a public funded corporation and we must treat farmers from all corners of the country the same. To grow the institution we’ve decided to enforce a uniform repayment policy across the country,” Mr Bett said adding that AFC had Sh900 million available for lending.
UN Women Kenya Country Office Director, Karin Fueg, pledged the United Nations support in enhancing the lives of farmers, more specifically the women engaged in farming activities.