AFC calls farmers for talks on loans

Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) Managing Director Lucas Meso during an interview with the Smart Harvest team, Standard, at AFC office, Nairobi. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) has told Bura Irrigation Scheme farmers to visit its offices and agree on how they will pay their loans.

This comes after the farmers on Wednesday protested in Bura town, Tana River County, carrying letters which they had received from AFC Bank demanding settlement of a Sh67.5 million debt.

The farmers asked the government to come clean on the issue, saying they had no money to repay the loan because during election campaigns in 2017, the money had apparently been written off.

“Farmers in receipt of demand notices are highly encouraged to engage the corporation’s Bura and Hola branches to structure acceptable repayment modalities and not resort to demonstrations,” said AFC Managing Director Lucas Meso in a statement to newsrooms.

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“The corporation commits to continue offering responsive services in support of the development of the agricultural sector. Our intentions are to help them become good farmers and improve their livelihoods.”

Some of the framers claimed they were shocked to find out that more than 2,500 of them had been listed with the Credit Reference Bureau.

The government on May 29, 2017 instructed AFC to write off several loans owed by farmers within Bura and Hola, whose loans were distressed for various reasons.

“The corporation’s board of directors thereafter established a criterion of identifying loans qualifying for the waiver under executive directive. Accordingly, 2,146 cases were identified as meeting the threshold and were duly written off,” said Mr Meso.

The entire amount written off was slightly more than Sh75 million.

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“This process was further reviewed and approved by the board as per policy,” said Meso.

He said the pronouncements by the Presidency variously and communicated to the corporation were duly executed.

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