Co-op Bank crowned the ‘best’ at ASK Mombasa International Trade Fair 2019

he Co-operative Bank of Kenya stand at the 2019 ASK Mombasa International Trade Fair. It was named Overall Winner in the Best Bank category and also the Large Trade Stand

NAIROBI, Kenya, September 11, 2019 – Co-operative Bank has been crowned the best in the just concluded ASK Mombasa International Trade Fair.

The lender, which has 155 branches, 11,600 banking agents and over 8.2 million customers was named Overall Winner in the Best Bank category besides being feted in the Large Trade Stand (Commercial & Industrial) category at the trade fair.

Kenya is an agricultural economy. Agriculture is key to Kenya’s economy, contributing 26 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and another 27 per cent of GDP indirectly through linkages with other sectors. Agriculture in Kenya is large and complex, with a multitude of public, parastatal, non-governmental and private sectors.

That Co-op Bank is a key player in the agricultural sector was evident during the ASK Mombasa International Trade Fair.  The bank showcased its deep presence in the Coast Region, supporting farmers especially those organised in Co-operative and producer groups.

Farming in Kenya, although a less percentage of Kenya’s land is under agriculture, farming is Kenya’s most important economic activity. With most of Kenya’s land mass being arid or semi-arid, only about 20 per cent is suitable for farming.

The Co-operative Bank of Kenya staff attending to a client at the 2019 ASK Mombasa International Trade Fair.

About 80 per cent of Kenya’s workforce engages in farming or food processing. Farming is typically carried out by small producers who usually cultivate no more than five acres using limited technology. Farming in Kenya is the mainstay of the Kenyan economy, contributing 23 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

It is evidently not in doubt that Co-op Bank has made it even easier for small-scale farmers in the country by the introduction of the Agri Co-operatives which facilitates help to all their financial needs.

In partnership with both local and international partners, Co-op Bank is making tremendous progress reviving and expanding the incomes of farmers in the country.

In February this year, Co-operative Bank kicked off its annual national co-operatives workshop where chief executive from across the country deliberate on key issues concerning the industry.

Through its subsidiary, Co-op Consultancy and Insurance Agency, the CEOs were sensitised on how to revolutionise their societies and operate within the competitive business environment.

The workshop themed “Co-operatives tomorrow: Technology and Innovation for Sustainable and Inclusive Development” aims to enhance the institutional capacities of co-operative societies, who are the core stakeholders of the bank.

Co-operative societies are challenged to leverage on information communication technology (ICT) in a bid to assist them grow as well as drive innovation.

This year’s workshop covered a wide range of topics such as building technological capabilities in co-operatives which will help the participants think strategically about technology beyond adoption and managing the associated risks.

Among the key topics for discussion included building capacity in terms of strategy, governance and security. In the Coast region of Kenya, the Bank has partnered with several agricultural cooperatives to upscale the farmer’s capacity. Co-op Bank is supporting the Kwale Pavi Cotton Program.

Co-operative Bank has supported this cotton program with a Supply Chain Credit Facility of US$1 Million to ensure farmers are paid promptly upon harvesting and delivery of their cotton to the Co-operative Society.

The bank’s financing has greatly motivated farmers to remain committed to the program by reducing the previous delays in receiving crop proceeds due to the long cash cycle of the cotton business. By making funding available in a timely fashion, Co-op Bank has enabled the farmers to continue with farm preparation for the next season as well as meet their other financial needs.

The Banks is also supporting the Lake Kenyatta Farmers’ Co-operative Society. This is a farmer’s co-operative society based in Lamu (Mpeketoni). Co-op Bank is offering financial support to these farmers through the same credit line with PAVI where PAVI is now able to purchase cotton from Lake Kenyatta for onward ginning and selling of the lint through the PAVI partnership with CottonOn Group.

Co-operative Bank of Kenya CEO Gideon Muriuki at a past function. PHOTO | FILE

This is a major breakthrough as the initiative has fostered a Co-operative-to-Co-operative trading partnership thereby locking away the brokers and enabling the farmers to earn much better returns on their produce.

Co-op Bank is also partnering with sisal farmers through Kilifi Plantations. This is a sisal producing company in Kilifi. The bank has supported them with asset financing to mechanize the production of sisal in the farm thereby enabling them to enjoy substantial savings on production costs.

The Co-operative Bank has continued to support the agricultural sector and specifically farmers in all corners of the country.

The support of the bank for the agricultural sector is evident at the ASK Mombasa International Trade Fair where the bank is showcasing its deep presence in the Coast Region, supporting farmers especially those organized in Co-operatives and producer groups.

In partnership with both local and international partners, Co-op Bank is making tremendous progress reviving and expanding the incomes of farmers in the coast region.

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