The World Agro Forestry Centre (ICRAF) is coordinating the five-year programme funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation (DGIS). The purpose of the Programme is to increase water and food security, strengthen access to markets and drive sustainable economic development for different categories of farmers in Ethiopia, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. In Kenya, World Vision is the lead organisation for this project being implemented with Netherlands Development Organization SNV, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and CARITAS in Machakos, Makueni and Kitui counties. As the lead researcher for Strategic Business Advisors (SBA (Africa Ltd), we undertook a detailed assessment of financial services in the three counties in order to provide evidence-based information for appropriate interventions. A structured questionnaire with detailed questions on access to finance was administered to both farmers and commercial businesses.
This provided very useful quantitative analysis for the assessment. Key informants included banks and non-governmental (NGO’s) and a semi structured questionnaire guide was used to gather information on access to finance issues. In addition qualitative approaches were also used focused group discussion (FGD’s) to understand and probe in depth other issues. Our recommendation was that the project should develop a comprehensive targeted initiative to support the very poor households in the region that constitute over 40% of the total population (those earning less than $1.25 per day).