KCB Bank announced a Kshs 4 million sponsorship for the upcoming annual Naivasha Horticultural Fair, set to take place at the Naivasha Sports Club next month in September.
The move is yet another step by the regional bank to widen its footprint in all economic sectors as it continues its growth momentum across the five East African countries where it operates.
While announcing the partnership earlier today, the KCB Group Divisional Director Corporate Banking, Wilfred Sang said the sponsorship would be a long term initiative aimed at improving the bank’s outreach to the sector.
“Naivasha is host to about 50 multinational flower and horticultural companies. This is a huge growth opportunity for KCB that is the region’s largest Bank in terms of asset base standing at over Kshs 226 billion,” said Sang.
The horticulture industry is broadly classified as fruits, vegetables and cut flowers and currently provides direct employment to an estimated 100,000 Kenyans. A further 70,000 are employed in related industries like packaging, chemicals, and freight.
The industry is the fastest growing agricultural sub-sector in the country also ranked second in terms of forex earnings after tourism. In 2009, the country realized Kshs 71.6 billion from the sector, down from Kshs 73.7 billion in 2008.
“This is an important growth channel for KCB Bank that has the financial capacity to meet the needs of agribusinesses in Kenya. Be it business expansion, Asset Finance, Mortgage or employee facilities we are able to offer banking services across all our 168 locations in the country,” he said.
KCB Bank that is currently exposed to the tune of Kshs 1.038 billion to the sector, he said was developing a horticultural finance product that would boost significantly the bank’s Asset book in 2011 from the current 4 percent market share.
Speaking at the event, NHF Chairman Roddy Benjamin revealed that the NHF was the second largest exhibitors’ event of its kind in Africa. Each year it brings together horticultural producers and farmers alongside key buyers and suppliers in the industry showcase.
“The fair started in 2003 as a charity initiative but has since transformed into an important industry barometer, managing to attract managers and directors of almost all the flower farms in Kenya,” he said.
Benjamin said the fair aims to show the professionalism in the industry where clients and companies can network while updating growers and customers on innovations and business opportunities.
In 2009, the fair attracted over 140 exhibitors’ mostly international firms. This year he said more than 150 exhibitors were expected. Proceeds from this year’s event will go towards local charities including the Rotary Safe House, Naivasha Children’s Shelter, Mary’s Hospital Elementaita and IDP camps in Naivasha among others.