Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
More from Sub-Saharan Africa
Food Security and Agriculture
Food Security and Agriculture
More from Food Security and Agriculture


Although more than 75 percent of Kenyans work in the agriculture sector, millions of Kenyans are food insecure and one-third of the country’s population lives below the poverty line. Most of Kenya’s farmers are subsistence farmers struggling to access the basic inputs or technology needed to produce strong yields and secure fair and consistent prices. While about 600,000 of these smallholder Kenyan farmers belong to agriculture cooperatives, these cooperatives also struggle to purchase produce from their members.

The largest rice farmer cooperative in Kenya, Mwea Rice Growers Multipurpose Co-operative Society Limited, has over 7,000 members who collectively cultivate around 16,000 acres of rice farms around the rural town of Mwea, about 75 miles northeast of Nairobi. The cooperative’s model is based on purchasing members’ raw rice paddy, processing the raw rice at its member-owned rice mill, selling the processed rice for a premium, and returning those profits to the farmers.

However, because Mwea Rice Growers lacked sufficient collateral to access bank loans, it could only purchase less than half of the rice paddy produced by its member farmers, who were forced to sell their remaining production at a steep discount.

Solution and Impact

In partnership with USAID/Kenya, DFC has provided a $17.3 million loan portfolio guaranty to two Kenyan banks, including Co-operative Bank of Kenya, to help Kenya’s agriculture cooperatives access financing to support their members.

DFC’s loan portfolio guaranty, which serves as a form of third-party collateral, has enabled Co-operative Bank of Kenya to provide a loan to Mwea Rice Growers. With this loan, the cooperative was able to purchase the entirety of its members’ rice paddy, which it processed at its own mill, and is sold at a premium. In addition to then returning profits to its member farmers, Mwea Rice Growers was able to grow its staff and increase local economic activity.

This transaction was profiled in 2024.