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AfDB distributes fertilizer to 100,000 Kenyan smallholder farmers

The African Development Bank (AfDB)-managed Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism (AFFM) will provide a Sh303 million ($2M) partial trade credit guarantee and a Sh33 million ($219,000) grant funding to Nairobi-based agritech company Apollo Agriculture Limited to support the distribution of over 7,000 tonnes of fertilizers to some 100,000 smallholder farmers in Kenya.

Between 2024 and 2026, the project will support Apollo Agriculture Limited to sell fertilizer through a part of its network, covering around 150 retail agro-dealers and 800 village-based agents using digital platforms.

Most smallholder farmers in Kenya buy fertilizers through informal credit, microfinance institutions, and commercial banks, but challenges remain for farmers to access fertilizer financing as some cannot provide tangible collateral. These new funds will be channeled through the Fertilizer Financing for Sustainable Agriculture Management project.

“The Fertilizer Financing for Sustainable Agriculture Management project will improve farming productivity by facilitating access and use of fertilizer for smallholder farmers at the last mile, with 50 percent of women among the beneficiaries,” said Marie Claire Kalihangabo, Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism Coordinator.

The fertilizer market’s leading players include importers, blenders, and the Kenyan government, which runs a fertilizer subsidy program. In 2021, Kenya imported 758,000 tonnes of chemical fertilizers. Kenyan farmers pay Sh5,304 ($35) for a 50 kg fertilizer bag.

Benjamin Njenga, co-founder of Apollo Agriculture Limited, said: “Apollo Agriculture is pleased to establish a partnership with the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism to make essential farming inputs accessible and affordable to small-scale farmers, thereby boosting farmer income and Kenya’s food security.”

Apollo Agriculture Limited seeks to help small-scale farmers maximize their profits. Its automated, tech-driven approach has allowed it to deliver farm inputs on credit to over 330,000 small-scale Kenyan farmers across 20 counties, with an average acreage of less than 1.5 acres– half of whom are women.

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank approved the Fertilizer Financing for Sustainable Agriculture Management project on 13 October 2023. It aligns with the Bank’s Feed Africa Strategy because it will stimulate the private sector’s fertilizer financing in Kenya, improving food productivity and security. It ensures the continuity of the Bank’s Country Strategy Paper 2019-2023 for Kenya and the Bank’s Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation Programme.

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