In a significant move towards enhancing agricultural productivity and food security in Kenya, the Africa Fertiliser Financing Mechanism has announced a substantial investment of $2 million in partial trade credit guarantee and a $219,000 grant for Nairobi-based Apollo Agriculture Limited. This investment aims to support the distribution of over 7,000 tonnes of fertilisers, benefiting around 100,000 smallholder farmers across the country.
The project, spanning from 2024 to 2026, will enable Apollo Agriculture Limited to sell fertilisers through a dedicated network involving approximately 150 retail agro-dealers and 800 village-based agents. These transactions will be facilitated through digital platforms, streamlining the distribution process for greater efficiency.
Smallholder farmers in Kenya often face challenges in accessing fertiliser financing due to the informal credit structures and the inability to provide tangible collateral. The funds allocated through the Fertiliser Financing for Sustainable Agriculture Management project will address this gap, ensuring that farmers at the grassroots level can access and utilise fertilisers to enhance their productivity.
Marie Claire Kalihangabo, coordinator of the Africa Fertiliser Financing Mechanism, emphasised the project’s impact on farming productivity, stating, “The Fertiliser Financing for Sustainable Agriculture Management project will improve farming productivity by facilitating access and use of fertiliser for smallholder farmers at the last mile, with 50 percent of women among the beneficiaries.”
The fertiliser market in Kenya involves key players such as importers, blenders, and the government, which runs a fertiliser subsidy program. In 2021 alone, Kenya imported 758,000 tonnes of chemical fertilisers, with farmers paying $35 for a 50kg fertiliser bag. This collaboration between Apollo Agriculture Limited and the Africa Fertiliser Financing Mechanism aims to make essential farming inputs more accessible and affordable for small-scale farmers, thereby bolstering farmer income and contributing to Kenya’s overall food security.
Benjamin Njenga, co-founder of Apollo Agriculture Limited, expressed his satisfaction with the partnership, stating, “Apollo Agriculture is pleased to establish a partnership with the Africa Fertiliser Financing Mechanism to make essential farming inputs accessible and affordable to small-scale farmers, thereby boosting farmer income and Kenya’s food security.”
Approved by the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank, the Fertiliser Financing for Sustainable Agriculture Management project aligns with the Bank’s Feed Africa Strategy, stimulating private sector fertiliser financing in Kenya. This strategic investment aims to improve food productivity and security, ensuring the continuity of the bank’s Country Strategy Paper 2019-2023 for Kenya and the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation Programme.