Kenya: Gender Gap in Agricultural Financing an Elephant in the Room for Country’s Economy

Kenya: Gender Gap in Agricultural Financing an Elephant in the Room for Country's Economy

Somalilandsun: Several academic and corporate researches from around the world currently show that women are the most under funded farmers .This is not only in Kenya, but all over, even in America, Europe and Australia. Thus, the world still  has moral obligation to address gender gap in financing feminized agriculture in order to narrow the the gender revenue gap in the agricultural sector as one of the globalized obligations stressed in the millennium development goals.

Gender gap in agricultural financing and gender gap in agricultural revenue are thus global challenges to our present day  capitalist civilization, but this article will  narrow down to focus on Kenya’s persistent laxity in filling up the gender gap in agricultural financing even though the current Kenya constitution is the most comely when it comes to politics of institutionalizing economic gender mainstreaming.
Current social dynamics in Kenya show that most of young men are now in urban areas working in offices, factories, hotels, security, boda boda, matatu and so on . Similarly , the young men  in the rural areas of Kenya are  substantially absorbed in boda boda transport business, thus they are  young mothers left with the burden of feeding the children being  the ones obliged  to do farming on daily basis. Though,  these Kenyan mothers are not doing lucrative micro-farming, this is so  due to lack of basic money capital. The mothers lack money capital because no individual nor institution is willing to finance them.
If we can be allowed to use the Fish-bone or Ishikawa model of thinking to establish the reason why Kenyan rural mothers don’t readily qualify for agricultural loan we easily come to factors like, endemic crude patriarchal culture, lack of bank accounts, lack of identification documents, lack of knowledge to develop loan proposal and agribusiness plans , lack of documents of land ownership to use as collateral securities and also the biased traditional banking culture that only focusses on profits without  making a CSR stretch to get involved in some social processes  that  may be can help in empowering the economically vulnerable Kenyan women in agricultural business.
However, objective thinking dictates that the above reasons must not  qualify,  in a modern sense , to have the women in agriculture to be under funded. In fact one can borrow some revolutionary diagnosis from Michael P. Todaro in his book, ‘Economic Development for the third World’ to point out that Kenya’s agricultural financing policy must revolutionize the approach by turning around to focus on educating, training, documenting and empowering women in Agriculture, without necessarily basing the financing contracts on the traditional worthiness tested by ownership of a title deed, a log book, or a fat payslip.
This is why the current agricultural banks in Kenya like the former  HFC are duty bound to develop customers centric  value chain systems that not only enrich the bank but also transform our societies by financing and funding  the humble  houses wives to become small scale agricultural tigers of our rural economy.
Economic logic for all these pertains in the prevailing situation that it is the persistent failure to empower women in agriculture that have led  Kenya down to the current defenseless situation of daily  importing of the bulbous onions from Tanzania, Tilapia from from Chinese fish pond owners and  as well as importing ground nuts and  banana from Uganda .
Reading ‘Modern Imperialism , Finance Monopoly and Marx’s Law of Value’ by Samir Amin reveals that creators of value are those majority that interact  with system of production. And truly, in Kenya women interact with the earth in its capacity as landed capital and primary component in the system of production. The same Samir  Amin argues that labour as the primary producer of value cannot produce the expected value without having its internal value being upgraded. This observation beautifully rocks with our argument at hand that the productive capacity of Kenya’s women in agriculture is very wanting . Kenyan women in agriculture have productive capacity that  is so low due to poor state of funding. However, this is an economic problem that can be solved through honesty  policy action .Let us act now .
By-Alexander Opicho.
From, Lodwar,Kenya.