533980_10151569236670569_1008137507_n1.jpgEquity Bank is courting poultry farmers with a new loan for training and stocking as more people choose keeping birds.

The bank offers part payment whose details the leader’s partner assesses before applying for the loan.

Farmers seeking the loan product must provide 30 per cent of the total project cost that caters for setting up structures while the bank stocks the farm.

Beneficiaries of the scheme, who are booked for training at the Kiambu-based Pwani Feeds — the Equity partner in the venture — get a cage of 256 birds ready to start laying at Sh307,000, a loan repayable in two years. The product launched two months ago targets 3,000 poultry farmers across the country.

Equity declined to disclose the price of the loan but its agribusiness relationship manager Titus Kariuki told the Business Daily they focus on affordability.

“Our rates are affordable  given that we target small and medium enterprises,” Mr Kariuki said last week at the ongoing Nairobi International Trade Fair.

Farmers visit Pwani Feeds, a stockist of animal feeds and keeper of birds, which trains them, prepares their quotations, and assesses the farm to allow the processing of loans that are approved at the local branches.

“We are targeting to reach 3,000 farmers under this project and have so far spent more than Sh12 million on this project,’’ said Mr Kariuki.

At the rate of Sh307,000 per farmer, the bank is expected to spend upwards of Sh1 billion in the project that has taken off in Murang’a, Thika and Kiambu.
The chickens are the security.

Stocking of poultry is a major hindrance to people eyeing commercial farming. Day-old chicks go for between Sh50 and Sh100, depending on location, but feeding the birds to maturity is also a hurdle as prices keep increasing.

A 70kg bag of feeds for chicks or layers costs an average Sh3,000 after it went up last month by about Sh200 when the new VAT law took effect on September 2.

Financial institutions have changed tack to focus on the small businesses and start-ups, who perennially cite limited access to affordable credit as a major weakness.

While crop farmers have complained about access to inputs, animal keepers say cost of feeds lower their margins and reduce the pace of expansion.