Kenya Horticulture Partners Day: Unlocking Access to Finance for Scale
Access to finance is one of the main bottlenecks for companies and farmers to grow their business and scale up innovations. Many farmers, for example, cannot adopt new practices or technologies as a result of a lack of access to loans. The Horticulture Partners Day brought together partners and stakeholders from the HortIMPACT and Smart Water for Agriculture (SWA) projects, to discuss common obstacles, explore solutions and stimulate access to finance to enable scaling of project business cases.
Unlocking Finance for Scale Up Through Partnerships - A Shared 'Bottleneck'
The main objectives of the day were to: (1) share and exchange experiences and results of the programmes' business cases, the business models used and explore the potential to scale; (2) promote the creation of partnerships and links between partners in the business cases and stakeholders to stimulate adoption, uptake and scale up for systemic changes in the horticulture and irrigated agriculture sector. Activities during the day were all geared towards cooperation, networking and the sharing of knowledge.
Lessons Learned from KMHP and SWA
During their opening remarks SNV Agriculture Sector Leader Mary Njuguna, SNV Country Director Jeen Kootstra; and Nynke Humalda, representative of The Kingdom of The Netherlands’ Embassy, underscored the importance of sharing lessons learnt and best practices amongst actors to find solutions to shared challenges, access to finance, being one of them.
In the following panel session, representatives from private and financial institutions explored alternative finance models for SME farmers and agri-businesses. They also answered questions from the audience. Farmers, agribusiness and county government representatives in the audience, provided different views on the presented financing models and the challenges they face in obtaining loans.
World Cafés and Exhibition Stands
Following the opening session, attendees could discuss thematic areas in more detail in three different World Cafés.
The Financial Products and Services World Café explored different alternative financing models. Several businesses and financial service providers presented products and models that may provide realistic solutions. 'Pay-as-you-grow', for example, is a service provided by Sunculture that makes solar-powered drip irrigation accessible to SME farmers.
In the Technology World Café, guests discussed technological innovations that can be used in the agriculture sector, such as a solar-powered water pump, the Future Pump that can be monitored and operated remotely. Pitches from business and organisations included ways in which these technologies can accessed by SME farmers.
The third World Café was dedicated to Market Access. Yvette Ondachi from Ojay Greene and Jonathan Bamber from Burton and Bamber (B&B) underscored the importance of market access and of providing training on good agricultural practices, to enhance farmers’ productivity and incomes.
Attendees also had the opportunity to interact with partners and innovation projects at an exhibition stand. Amongst the presenting businesses were Fertiplus; and Agri-Wallet, a financial product offered by Dodore Kenya; Sweetunda presented its dry mango products; Geerlofs Greene, and Sereni Fries showcased some of their potato species.
Closing Remarks and the Event's Lessons
Sigrid Meijer and Sebastian Oggema, project managers of the HortIMPACT and SWA projects respectively, closed the event. They underscored the importance of the continued sharing of knowledge and ideas, also after the end of the successful Partners Day.