Representatives of the African Development Bank, African Fertilizer Financing Mechanism, the Government of Norway and Apollo Agriculture at the Nairobi launch of the Financing for Sustainable Agriculture Management Project [Photo/AfDB]

Kenyan farmers to benefit from $2m Africa fertiliser initiative

By Clifford Akumu

The African Fertiliser Financing Mechanism has launched a project to deliver nearly 8,000 tonnes of fertiliser to 100,000 smallholder farmers in Kenya to advance food security.
Through its Fertiliser Financing for Sustainable Agriculture Management Project, the $2 million partial trade credit and a grant of $219,000 will be provided to Apollo Agriculture Ltd, a Kenyan corporation, to facilitate the company’s fertiliser sales.

The Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation is also supporting the project through a $10.15 million contribution.

The initiative was launched on April 8 in Nairobi and attended by representatives of the African Development Bank (AfDB; the Fund manager), Apollo Agriculture, and the Kenyan and Norwegian governments.
Kenyan smallholder farmers often lack collateral to secure financing to buy fertilisers. The project, by sharing credit risk with suppliers like Apollo Agriculture, will bolster companies’ confidence to offer fertiliser on credit.
Marie Claire Kalihangabo, coordinator of the Africa Fertiliser Financing Mechanism, said: “The credit risk guarantee also provides finance directly to smallholder farmers at the last mile of delivery. It offers fertiliser, certified seed crop protection, and insurance against crop failure.”
The two-year project will use Apollo’s digital platform to connect farmers to fertiliser and other inputs on credit, with a network of 150 retail agro-dealers and 800 village-based agents. Kenya’s fertiliser market involves importers, blenders, and a government subsidy programme.
Nnenna Nwabufo, director general of AfDB’s East Africa, noted: “This support is in line with the bank’s Feed Africa Strategy. It will ensure long-term private sector engagement in financing fertilisers, ultimately increasing food production.”
Benjamin Njenga, co-founder of Apollo Agriculture, explained that farmers can obtain high-quality farming supplies by paying a small deposit upfront, with the full loan being due when the crops have been harvested and sold.
“We believe increased and proper fertiliser use can significantly impact food supply and household incomes,” Gunnar Holm, Norwegian Ambassador to Kenya, said at the launch.
Peter Owoko, director of policy at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, announced new initiatives to strengthen food security. “During the 2024 cropping seasons, the government targets to provide up to 12.5 million tonnes of fertilisers to farmers under the subsidy programme,” he said.

He thanked AfDB for granting Kenya $67 million in 2022-2023 through its African Emergency Food Production Facility.
Apollo Agriculture has started implementing the project in Bungoma and Uasin Gishu counties, mainly targeting maize production. There are high expectations that yields will increase in the harvest season starting September.
The project aligns with Kenya’s Vision 2030, which identifies agriculture as a key driver of the country’s economic growth and food security.

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