By Shadarck Nyakoe
The eco.business Fund has disbursed USD 10 million, approximately KES 1.1 billion to its newest partner in Kenya, Family Bank, increasing access to finance for sustainable agricultural producers, particularly in the tea sector.
This new partnership aims to support sustainability-certified companies as well as small-holder farmers implementing sustainable and climate-smart practices, ensuring the long-term competitiveness of the agribusiness sector.
Family Bank is an established lender in the Kenyan tea sector, making it an ideal partner for the fund. With its extensive branch network across the country, Family Bank is well-positioned to finance sustainable agricultural value chains where financing gaps persist.
Moreover, as certified tea farms are key contributors to sequestering and storing carbon – incorporating indigenous trees for windbreaking or erosion control – the investment is directly aligned with the fund’s mission of mitigating climate change and conserving Kenya’s biodiversity.
Dr. Jens Mackensen, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the eco.business Fund, stated: “We are delighted by this new partnership with Family Bank.Together, we believe we can ramp up support to certified agribusiness in Kenya and ensure we contribute to biodiversity conservation, the sustainable use of natural resources and mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts.”
Kenya is the third-largest tea producer in the world and is ranked the largest tea exporting country, representing approximately 22% of the global tea trade.
By supporting certified agricultural producers in agricultural exporting countries such as Kenya, the investment is helping create a stable uptake from developed markets, steering other local producers toward more sustainable production methods.
“This partnership is a testament to our commitment to supporting the growth of local markets, especially critical markets such as tea farming. It is through such strategic partnerships that we can support the sustainability and business continuity of SMEs in the agriculture, forestry, fishery and tourism sectors,” said Family Bank Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Mbithi.
The investment is expected to support the fund’s overall mission to promote business and consumption practices that contribute to biodiversity conservation and climate action (adaptation and mitigation).
In addition, it is expected to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2 on Zero Hunger, SDG 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth, and SDG 12 on Responsible Consumption and Production.