Innovative Loans Enable Kenyan Farmers to Access Climate-Smart Irrigation

WOCCU/KUSCCO loan product developed through USAID Cooperative Development Program

August 16, 2019

MADISON, Wis.—A farmers’ cooperative in rural Kenya commissioned a new crop irrigation system Wednesday—made possible through an agricultural lending product developed by World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and the Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives Ltd. (KUSCCO).

The irrigation system, consisting of a borehole and solar pump, will allow the 90 members of the Kanoto Horticultural Farmers’ Cooperative to produce French beans for commercial sale.

The farmers’ cooperative utilized “KILIMO”—a loan product WOCCU developed in collaboration with KUSCCO through a USAID Cooperative Development Program (CDP) project—to finance the construction of the system.

The KILIMO product consists of:

  • lending to SACCOs (Savings and Credit Co-Operatives), which can then lend to small farmers.
  • training materials for SACCOs and farmers on value chain (potatoes, French beans, sorghum), and access to suppliers and markets.
  • loan methodologies and applications for underwriting agricultural loans.
  • loan insurance for small, rural producers to protect against climate, pest and production issues.
  • loans to access solar pumps from SACCOs, as part of a Smart Water product from KUSCCO.

World Council CDP Director Jean Thiboutot attended the ceremony to commission the new irrigation system. It is one of several success stories to come out of the eight-year “Improving Small Rural Producers Income through Integrated Access to Financial Services and Agricultural Markets" project, which concluded at the end of 2018.

“It is always inspiring to see our CDP projects result in financial products and services people can easily access and utilize to improve their quality of life,” said Thiboutot. “This irrigation system will enable 90 farmers to grow their businesses and help provide for their families.”

USAID describes CDP as “a global initiative that is building the capacity of cooperative businesses and cooperative systems for self-reliance, local ownership, and sustainability.” WOCCU has administered CDP projects since 2010.

World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development platform for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.

World Council has implemented 300+ technical assistance programs in 89 countries. Worldwide, 85,400 credit unions in 118 countries serve 274 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at

Author Photo
Contact: Greg Neumann
Organization: World Council of Credit Unions
Phone: +1 608-395-2048
WOCCU CDP Director Jean Thiboutot (center) at the commissioning ceremony in Masii, Kenya
WOCCU CDP Director Jean Thiboutot (center) at the commissioning ceremony in Masii, Kenya
The solar pump, mounted flat on the left, pumps water into the reservoir on the right,
The solar pump, mounted flat on the left, pumps water into the reservoir on the right,

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