Peasant Farmers Lag As Kenya’s Financial Inclusion Gathers Pace

Small-scale farmers in Kakamega County. FILE PHOTO | NMG

By Elvis Mboya

Despite the strong presence of mobile money in rural areas, most farmers remain financially excluded and are often at the bottom of the economic pyramid.

Despite the fact that they are the ones most likely to need financing for their core economic activities and earn a living, they are perceived as high risk and prone to loan defaults as they lack financial history, fresh GSMA agri-tech study shows.

According to the 2019 FinAccess Household Survey, access to formal financial services has grown alongside the rise in mobile money use in rural Kenya, yet most unbankable peasant farmers have not benefited.

“Barriers to further adoption persist, such as gaps in rural mobile coverage, availability and liquidity of mobile money agents to support cash-outs, and a lack of formal identification documents to meet rigorous know-your-customer (KYC) requirements.”

According to the 2017 Global Findex database, 81.6 per cent of the 29.6 million Kenyans aged 15 and older have an account with a financial institution or mobile money provider. In rural areas, this figure is slightly lower at 81.2 per cent.

In the same year, it indicates that over 73 per cent of adults in rural areas had access to a mobile money account, while 37 per cent received money from the sale of agricultural products through a mobile phone, compared to around 30 per cent in 201…

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