Sectornews: KCB in Ksh4 million Naivasha Horticultural Fair sponsorship

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KCB Bank has announced a Ksh4 million sponsorship for the annual Naivasha Horticultural Fair that runs from September 10 to 11  at the Naivasha Sports Club.
The sponsorship is a move 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 partner¬ship recently, the bank’s corporate banking divisional director 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 horti-cultural companies. This is a huge growth opportunity for KCB that is the region’s largest bank in terms of asset base standing at over Ksh226 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, while a further
70,000 are employed in related in-dustries like packaging, chemicals, and freight services.
The industry is the fastest growing agricultural sub-sector in the
country and is ranked second in terms of foreign exchange earnings after tourism. In 2009, the country earned about Ksh71.6 billion from the sector, down from Ksh73.7 billion in 2008.
“This is an important growth channel for KCB Bank that has the fi-nancial 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,” said Sang.
He added that the Bank, currently exposed to the tune of Ksh1.038 bil-lion to the sector, is developing a horticultural finance product that would boost significantly the bank’s asset book in 2011 from the current 4 per cent market share.
Speaking at the event, Roddy Benjamin, the Naivasha Horticultural Fair (NHF) chair, said that NHF was the second largest exhibitors’ event of its kind in Africa, each year bringing 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 trans¬formed into an important industry barometer, managing to attract managers and directors of almost all the flower farms in Kenya,” said Benjamin.
He added that 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 while the 2010 edition ex-pects participation of more than 150 exhibitors.
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

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