Category Archives: Fin4Ag

Kenya Agri Exports to the EU take a Hit?

An ad in the September 22 Nation newspaper  has a statement by the European Union addressed to exporters from the East African Community on changes to the tariff regime starting on October 1 owing to the failure of the two sides to sign an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)

There was also an article in the same paper showing that a draft has been agreed to, and that a final EPA may be signed and effected in time, but others say it is too late for this.

The new rates, while still subsidized compared to what other nation suppliers pay to export to the EU, are still a blow considering that some exports will no longer be duty-free.

EU Agri

EU newspaper ad

While some like tea, coffee beans & carnations will remain duty-free, Kenyan exporters will pay subsidized rates  of 4.5% on tilapia exports (compared to a normal EU rate of 8%), 2.5% for roast coffee (not 7.5%), 10.9% for mixed vegetables (not 14.4%), and 5% for roses and cut flowers (not 8.5%) between November and May – which includes the crucial Valentine’s Day period when some flower farms can earn half their revenue.

This caps what has been a tough year for Kenya’s  exports of tourism, tea and coffee which have all been adversely affected, and now this.  The recently released Economic Survey 2014 showed total exports declined by 3% from Kshs 518 billion in 2012 to Kshs 502 billion in 2013 (as per the Devolution Cabinet Secretary).

Kenya will  qualify for the preferential (GSP) tariffs, while Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania are currently considered under “least developed countries” and most of their exports to the EU will qualify for a unilateral 0% tariff.

 

Fin4Ag14

All this week, Nairobi plays host to a conference called Fin4Aag14 which has the theme of Revolutionising Finance for Agri-Value Chains.

It started with plug & play session in which 18 companies got to introduce their platforms linking agriculture to finance across Africa. This is the second edition of the session that was introduced at the conference in Kigali last year and proved to be quite popular.


The 18 companies were: 

  • Tangaza Pesa: automates the value chain by doing KYC on farmers with bio data, crops produced,  and GPS  to build credit records
  • Ensibuuko (Uganda) helps (via web & mobile) to manage rural SACCO’s that can reach many of the rural unbanked farmers 
  • FarmDrive (University of Nairobi) enables small farmers to keep basic record by mobile phone and build a credit score 
  • Farmers Record Management System (FARMIS) aggregates farmers with financial institutions  to access finance and ensure loans are properly utilized 
  • Zoona’s eVoucher platform: enables agri-business supply chain payments and insurance 
  • Credit Information Sharing: enables information sharing by credit bureaus for lenders to make decisions
  • Umati Capital: paperless solution that aims to shorten dairy farmer  payment periods from 6 weeks to 24 hours
  • Agrilife – enables farmers to access markets inputs, savings, and asset finance 
  • Musoni System: a core banking for SACCO’s and micro-banks, loans, and savings that can also integrate with m-pesa and tablet apps 
  • Farmforce (Sygenta) enables traceability of farm produce for quality and for farmers to access small loans 
  • e-Krishok: Online & mobile infer for Bangladesh farmers to access information, traders and finance 
  • Creditinfo’s Credit Bureau Solution – enables credit bureaus can collect info on farmers so they can access loans without need for collateral 
  • Craft Silicon have a platform can link to MFI’s, bank, SACCO’s (Elma?)
  • aWhere Platform: with over 1 billion data points collected, enable farmers to be aware of field risks to make smarter decisions. this includes weather data for all of Africa since 1999 and others they pull from mobile services
  • AgroCentral – uses ICT to buy produce from farmers
  • RiMFin (Ghana): enables rural famers to receive mobile payments and save them in their phones 
  • finFinancials (Fintech) core banking platform that can integrate with others for digital or mobile payments
They will be there all week presenting their platforms and engaging the attendees who are from across Africa, Caribbean and Asia and who include development specialists, financiers, policy makers and top bankers who hope to get youth interested in agriculture.

There was a brief session on warehousing that detailed both the challenges and the opportunities for warehousing. Commodity warehousing types include private, public and community. Examples were cited from Tanzania (community food stored in individual houses but linked to MFI’s ), Ivory Coast (large presence in Cocoa Rubber Cashew sectors), Madagascar (communities totaling 80,000 rice farmers in villages part guaranteed by DFI’s cover 2% of the national production but provide price stability), and Nigeria (massive 1.3 million ton silo capacity against  large formal sector demand of 1.9M tons), Burkina Faso and Uganda (2 successful warehouse companies). 


Challenges facing warehousing include high costs (leaving some empty of commodities) fraud, long value chains, and contract defaults (by both small farmers and larger organizations like WFP).

Fin4Ag14 is organized by the Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA),  Central Bank of Kenya and African Rural and the Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA), and is supported by the FAO, the Rockefeller Foundation and Afreximbank.