Juhudi Kilimo, Kenya

May 17, 2019

Sarah Njuguna lives in Gitare, which is 150 km north of Nairobi, Kenya. She has a loan from Juhudi Kilimo, a microfinance institution in which Incofin cvso invested EUR 2.2 millon as a shareholder. This is the fund’s first equity investment in Kenya.  Sarah’s first loan, which she received 4 years ago, amounted to EUR 500. She used her current loan of EUR 2,500 to expand her poultry business to a capacity of 1,300 chickens. Sarah and her husband sell the eggs to hotels in Nairobi. Her husband takes care of the transport with his own van. They also own 3 cows and 1 goat, and grow maize, rice and cabbage. Their next project is to buy a mechanical water pump.

Juhudi Kilimo is a leading microfinance provider for rural smallholder farmers in Kenya and offers a wide range of services spread across 34 branches in 32 rural towns in Kenya. The MFI has 305 employees who manage a portfolio of about EUR 20 million. Juhdi started as a simple agriculture micro-lending initiative in 2004, with a focus to serve the rural farmers who could not access formal financing due to their remoteness (poor infrastructure), poor market access, poor climate conditions, lack of agronomic data, low literacy, lack of collateral or borrowing history and poor or no financial records. In 2009 Juhudi became an independent, for-profit company with seed capital of USD 1 million. Incofin cvso joins other impact investors Acumen Fund, Soros Economic Devleopment Fund and the Grameen Foundation as shareholders of Juhudi Kilimo.

At the time, Juhudi had 4,500 customers served by less than 50 staff across 8 branches. Juhudi today boasts more than 45,000 customers, with over EUR 100 million having been disbursed. Its current portfolio consists of 67% women and 39% youth. Average loan sizes are about EUR 330 and are used to acquire livestock, farm inputs like seeds and fertilizers and farming equipment.

Kenya has an estimated population of 50 million people with ~75% living in rural areas and dependent on farming as their source of income. Today Agriculture represents about 32% of Kenya’s GDP and remains the largest employer of the population. Juhudi is committed to leverage technology as a way to increase its efficiency and to provide financial access to its remotely located customers. Juhudi currently disburses almost 90% of its loans through the mobile phone with about 60% of clients also making their repayments through the mobile phone.