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Kevian inks potato seeds deal with Irish firm

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Kevian Kenya limited managing director Kimani Rugendo
Kevian Kenya limited managing director Kimani Rugendo. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kevian Kenya, the company that makes the popular Afia and Pick N Peel juices, has struck a deal with an Irish firm to produce certified potato seedlings required to revamp local output and improve household incomes.

Kimani Rugendo, the proprietor and managing director at Kevian, said the partnership between his firm and IPM Potato Group seeks to address the shortage of quality potato seeds and help producers meet the annual demand of 40,000 tonnes.

“The aim is to produce very clean quality potato seeds and our target is to be able to make available over 2,000 tonnes of certified potato seeds per year by 2021,” Mr Rugendo said yesterday when he hosted a delegation of 13 potato experts from Ireland in Nanyuki town. The two firms unveiled Kirinyaga Seeds as the investment vehicle that will produce certified seeds for the local market.

Under the partnership, Kevian Kenya Limited will offer 200 acres in its Timau farm in Meru for the initial trials while IPM Potato Group will offer expertise and machinery. “Currently, we are going through trials and registration and are working closely with Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (Kephis) who are offering much needed support in soil testing, seed testing for bacteria and certification,” Mr Rugendo said.

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IPM Potato Group is also expected to bring in germplasm technology (a living tissue from which new plants can be grown) from Ireland. This will be taken through tissue culture laboratory to produce mini-tubers that will then be brought to the farm for multiplication.

“A lot of capital injection will be needed because this is a huge project. We are relying more on partnerships to help produce quality potato seedlings that can boost both small and large-scale farmers’ output,” Sean Owens from IPM Potato Group said without disclosing the amount of money his firm is investing in the joint venture. Mr Owens added that trials are currently under way for certain varieties that should culminate in selection of the best for commercialised agri-processing production of crisps and French fries.

“With availability of quality potato seedlings, better harvests will be achieved. Kirinyaga Seeds Company will eventually buy the potatoes from the farmers for commercialisation and eventually set up a production plant in Kenya that will produce crisps, and French fries for local market,” he said.

Potato farmers in Kenya have been experiencing low and poor harvests after being duped by unscrupulous traders who sell to them uncertified seeds.

Most households in Laikipia, Nyeri, Bomet, Nyandarua Nakuru and Meru counties rely on potatoes to earn a living but do not attain the optimal output owing to low quality seedlings and attack by pest and diseases.

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World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021

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World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.

“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.

He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.

The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.

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People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.

For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.

Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.

“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.

ALSO READ:Global Economy Plunges into Worst Recession – World Bank

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Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans

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The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.

“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”

According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.

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Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans

The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.

Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.

Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.

SEE ALSO: Central Bank Unveils Measures to Tame Unregulated Digital Lenders

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Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options. 

This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.

The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.

The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.

The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).

The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.

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The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour;  Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).

The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.

Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”

He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.

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