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University of Amsterdam (2015)

Table banking for Kenya’s rural poor : food security and microfinanc

Barber J.S.

Titre : Table banking for Kenya’s rural poor : food security and microfinanc

Auteur : Barber J.S.

Université de soutenance : University of Amsterdam

Grade : Master 2015

Food and nutrition insecurity is a prevalent problem across the whole of Kenya as 30.4% of the population are undernourished (FAO, 2013), but also within the Samia District in Western Province as smallholder farmers face biannual food shortages (Noack and Pouw, 2014). The conceptualisation of food and nutrition for this study has focused on the availability, access and utilisation of food, and this study seeks to explain the factors that increase the vulnerability of smallholder farmers to food and nutritional insecurity. Drawing on field research in 2015 in Samia District that concentrated on table banking members who were also smallholder farmers, this study is framed by the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach to capture the vulnerabilities that smallholders perceive to affect their FNS. Table banking is not only used as a coping strategy, but also as a (food) business enhancement strategy, as 57.3% of the smallholder farmers use the loans for business purposes. Also, table banking does not only provide access to financial credit but enhances smallholders’ social and human capital in the form of support mechanisms from fellow members, training and farming knowledge from partnering NGOs and other smallholder farmers. However, different table banking groups complement and alternate existing table banking products and the CABE programme with their own strategies, such as access to additional funding and projects, for instance beekeeping and poultry. This leads to hybrid microfinance arrangements whereby old and new forms are blended into innovative ones. To conclude, the financial capacity of table banking is an issue which limits the effectiveness and impact of this form of microfinance. There are many challenges facing smallholders, which make farming increasingly difficult in the drought prone area of Samia, and there are a multitude of factors that increase the vulnerability of smallholders. Table banking offers one coping strategy to enable smallholders to not completely mitigate these challenges but restrict the severity of their impact.


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