By Michael Wesonga and Nick Oluoch
They lamented the current economic situation had made it difficult for them to service loans advanced by the cooperation.
But Agricultural Finance Corporation ( AFC) Managing Director Lucas Meso said the corporation had extended very favorable loan interest concessions approved by the Government to the farmers, all this in the backdrop of a purported intention to sell their farms to recover the loans.
AFC has in the recent past ruled out writing off loans incurred over the years by defaulting farmers but worked out a suitable repayment package with the affected farmers to ensure they are not inconvenienced.
Speaking in Migori town, Kenya National Sugarcane Growers Union (KENSGU) Secretary General Ezra Olodi said some farmers were unable to repay the loans and faced the possibility of their assets being auctioned.
“Some of the reasons behind the failure to pay the loans are very genuine, although AFC had given over Sh1 billion loans to farmers since 2007, and some of them had not been able to pay back,” he said.
Selling farmers’ land
But Meso refuted intentions to sell farms arguing it would only be considered as a last resort.
“We are not in the business of selling farmer’s farms but instead help them practice commercially viable farming practices to improve their income and alleviate poverty in the country for sustainable development,” said the MD.
Meso however refused to divulge the amount in arrears the farmers owed the corporation.
“We have devolved Sh2.7 billion to about 37,000 farmers in the country in the last quarter which would not have been possible if they were not repaying loans,” he said. Meso advised all farmers with defaulting loans to visit AFC branches to negotiate workable repayment package.