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AFC to offer loans to Western cane farmers

14 July 2015, 12:51 Jane Zack

Busia - Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) will start offering loans to all sugarcane farmers in Western region in order to improve their living standards.

The Corporation Managing Director, Lucas Meso said that sugarcane farmers in Western region will be repaying the loans after five years at an interest rate of only 5 percent compared to other banking institutions that charge high interest rates.

Meso was addressing farmers at Simba Chai in Teso South Constituency during a meeting organized to educate the residents on how they can acquire AFC loans easily.

"AFC is a government body. That is why farmers are being charged the lowest interest rate of 5 percent for sugarcane loans and 10 percent for any other loan," Meso said.

He said that AFC had decided to offer loans to sugarcane farmers in Western region after realizing that most of them were leading poor and miserable lives despite planting cane for many years.

Read Also: Kenya's struggling Mumias Sugar names new CEO

The MD said that majority of the sugarcane farmers are like slaves of Mumias sugar company because they don't even know the the quantity of their harvest and how much money they are supposed to receive from the company.

He said that despite Mumias company doing everything for farmers like harrowing, planting, providing seeds and even harvesting, some farmers end up with no returns after all deductions and are instead told they owe the company.

"Lives of sugarcane farmers in Western is pathetic despite other new factories coming up like Busia sugar and West Kenya. That is why AFC has come up with loans for farmers to enable them to be self-reliant after five years instead of relying on the factories to do everything for them," Meso said.

The MD said that County governments will be quarantining youth who don't have title deeds so that they can take AFC loans.

He said that Narok and Bomet County governments were the first ones to implement the project, adding that AFC will approach other governors in the country to emulate them in order to uplift the economic standards of their counties.

Meso said that most of the elders were not willing to sub-divide land to their sons, making them to live like squatters because they cannot acquire loans from any banking institution.

He said that AFC will start offering loans to people in Western region who don't have title deeds by opening for them bank accounts where they will be saving their money.

He revealed that people in Western region have not been taking loans compared to other Counties because they fear that their land will be auctioned in case they fail to repay back the loans.

"I am appealing to farmers in Western to take loans like other Kenyans instead of fearing that their land will be auctioned in case they fail to repay them," said the MD.

Meso said that AFC will open a branch in Busia County by theend of this year because farmers have been traveling up to Kakamega or Bungoma Counties whenever they want to get loans.

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