Kenya: Bomet Farmers Being Forced to Take Out Loans
Farmers in Kenya’s Bomet County claim they are being forced to take out loans under an initiative set up by the local government.
The Bomet County government says the initiative is designed to help farmers market and sell produce. However, a number of farmers in the area have told Kenyan publication Nation they are being forced to take out loans with unclear repayment terms.
Government forcing loans upon farmers
While the initiative has been largely welcomed by farmers in Bomet County, they claim the loans are being pushed upon them with unclear repayment arrangements that are making many uncomfortable.
Nation also says farmers claim they were given no consultation on the initiative. The publication goes on to say a number of farmers requested anonymity for fear of being victimised by local authorities, but insist there’s a hidden motive behind the scheme.
Some county officials have also complained of being pushed to force loans upon farmers, according to Nation.
Government denies claims
The government has acknowledged the initiative has been put in place, but denied claims made by farmers that no consultation was given. Resource Mobilisation director Wesley Sigei moved to defend the scheme when approached by the press.
“We floated the idea of loans because we felt some farmers may not be able to raise the cash needed for construction of the food stores,” he said. “The programme is only meant to help farmers get market for the produce,” he added.
Mr Sigei also looked to ease the fears of farmers they would lose their money through high-interest payments, insisting the loans would be guaranteed by the government.
By McKay Savage from London, UK – Women from the Mbini Self-Help Group showing off the fields, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11892353