Regulation and agriculture financing in Kenya

Kellen Murungi, Abdul Latif Alhassan, Bomikazi Zeka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The agricultural sector remains the backbone of several emerging economies, including Kenya, where it contributes 34% to its gross domestic product (GDP). However, access to financing for agricultural activities appears to be very low compared to developed economies. Following this, governments in a number of countries have sought to introduce banking sector regulations to facilitate increased funding to the agricultural sector. Taking motivation of the interest rate capping regulations by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) in 2016, this paper examined the effect of these interest rate ceiling regulations on agri-lending in Kenya.

The paper employs random effects technique to estimate a panel data of 26 commercial banks in Kenya from 2014 to 2018 using the ratio of loans to agricultural sector to gross loans and the natural logarithm of loans to agricultural sector as proxies for agri-lending. Bank size, equity, asset quality, liquidity, revenue concentration and bank concentration are employed as control variables.

The results of the panel regression estimations show that the introduction of the interest cap resulted in increases in the proportion and growth in agri-lending compared with the pre-interest cap period. In addition, large banks and highly capitalised banks were found to be associated with lower agri-lending, with differences in the effects across pre-cap and post-cap periods.

Practical implications
From a policy perspective, the findings highlight the effectiveness of interest rate capping in meeting this objective and supports the calls for strengthening cooperation between the government and key stakeholders in the financial sector. This will allow for the effective enforcement of policies by the regulatory powers in a manner that guarantees sound and dynamic financial systems, particularly within the agricultural sector.

As far as the authors are aware, this the first paper to examine the effect of the interest rate cap regulation on agri-lending in Kenya.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-799
Number of pages17
JournalAgricultural Finance Review
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2023


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