Central Kenya

Unaitas now opens office in Kisii to serve farmers

Savings and credit firm Unaitas says it is targeting more smallholder farmers in rural areas.

Chief executive Tonny Mwangi says the institution will target this group through training on savings.

The sacco last week opened an office in Kisii town, where it hopes to work with small-scale farmers in an area already flooded by over 20 financial institutions.

Mr Mwangi says it plans to use agency banking model.

“We will provide knowledge platforms including partnering with other service providers to ensure farmers are provided with the right information,” he said.

“It is this understanding that gives us a competitive edge in chama banking. We have unmatched delivery model for chama financing and capacity building,” he says.

The official says Unaitas is using its experience among rural communities as it seeks to expand.

Unaitas was launched in 1993 among tea growers and was known as Murang’a Tea Growers.

The sacco later adopted the name Muramati in 2007 as it expanded and rebranded to Unaitas in 2012.

Today it has 23 branches mostly concentrated in Central Kenya with a membership of about 300,000.

According to its financial report for 2017, it has an asset base of Sh13 billion and a loan book of Sh7.8 billion and a members’ deposit of Sh6.46 billion.

Mr Mwangi says Kisii was targeted because of its agri-based economy. Kisii produces bananas, maize, tea, coffee, dairy, horticulture with some farmers in financial saving groups.

Mr Mwangi says the need to expand to Kisii emanated from enquiries from their clients from the area who bank in their Nairobi branches but could not access the same services back home.

“We were moved by the need to ensure the residents of Kisii get to be part of a nationwide financial movement,” he said.

“We shall offer flexibility in access to our services by the farmers and the SMEs in the region by putting in place an elastic eligibility criteria,” he said.

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