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Abstract

In Kenya agriculture contributes 24% to the GDP yet lending to the sector is only about 4%. A major constraint to increasing efficiency in smallholder enterprises in rural areas is therefore, limited access to financial services. Lack of working capital for traders in rural areas inhibits the purchase, trade and processing of agricultural produce. This limits the amount of produce a farmer can market and acts as a disincentive to reaching his/her productive potential. Furthermore, most Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) lack a value chain approach to financing and are unable to remove the financial constraints along a specific value chain. Appropriate financing services along the value chain can help to enhance the productivity and profitability of various small-scale rural stakeholders. Therefore, the study assessed the prospects for financial innovations and access in improving dairy farmers’ livelihoods through a case study approach. The findings provide a strong evidence that appropriate financial innovation is the missing link in agricultural productivity paradigm and the food security equation in African countries including Kenya.

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