• Odhiambo said the bank is keen to help national and county governments improve agribusiness.
• He said they are in discussions with farmers' cooperatives to develop a custom-made cooperative account package that fits their banking needs.
Ecobank has set aside Sh1 billion to support coffee, tea and the dairy sector in Nyeri county and the greater Mt Kenya region.
Samuel Odhiambo, the bank’s Kenya and EAC director of commercial banking, said the money will be available for lending to farmers and organisations that meet the minimum requirements set by the bank.
He made the announcement on Wednesday during a meeting in Nyeri that brought together the county leadership and more than 100 farmers’ cooperative societies from the region.
Odhiambo said the bank is keen to help national and county governments improve agribusiness and food security by enhancing access to finance and providing products that target agriculture.
“We recognise the important role that agriculture plays in food security and employment in Kenya and that is why we have designated agricultural financing as the key focus area,” he said.
The financial institution, he said, is committed to providing credit facilities to farmers to enable them to acquire agricultural equipment and infrastructure such as storage facilities and dairy cooling plants.
Others include trade finance to address immediate working capital needs for farmers, Saccos and organisations engaged in the agricultural value chain.
The bank, Odhiambo added, is in discussion with farmers' cooperatives to develop a custom-made cooperative account package that fits their banking needs.
Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga lauded the bank, saying it was welcome to work with the cooperatives.
Kahiga also said there is a need to manage cooperatives in a professional way.
The county government has been sponsoring programmes where it has been training them on governance, accountability and management of finances in collaboration with Dedan Kimathi University of Technology.
“We have also addressed challenges within the cooperative movement more so in the agricultural sector, tea, coffee and dairy and we hope that that is an entry point where Ecobank can begin,” Kahiga said.
“We’ve also asked them [Ecobank] that cooperatives are unique and they need to have their products customised for them.”
Nyeri has 175 active cooperatives cutting across all sectors, including agriculture, transport and business Saccos among others.
Edited by A.N