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OCTOBER

SUSTAINABLE AGRI-BUSINESS BIG INTERVIEW 01

Summeat Enterprises

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Cherish Fruit World

EDITORIAL Makena Mworia, Director Client Services, KCIC

OPINION PIECE Sustainable Agribusinesses among Small-Scale farmers by Arnold Muthanga


Issue 14

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Editorial - Towards agricultural transformation

EDITORIAL Makena Mworia Towards agricultural transformation

griculture remains a huge aspect of Kenya’s economy although its development has been set back by a few obstacles, most prominent one being climate change which has inhibited the growth of indigenous foods like maize thus prompting food shortage and steep ascents of purchaser inflation. Presently, the quickening take-up of new methods for crop production and processing are clear indicators of transformation in agriculture that is influencing the change in agricultural practices amongst the Kenyan smallholder farmers. Against the challenge of progressively extreme and monetarily stressing climate change, innovation is still ready to assume a significant function in keeping up and improving Kenya's agricultural yields. The selection of advanced and accurate agricultural practices has been improving crop versatility and resilience and improving efficiency and livelihoods. In this issue of the Live Green magazine, we focus on the tremendous innovations and interventions done by a number of women and youth in agribusiness in Kenya. As you read through, you will agree with the mantra that agriculture is “becoming cool again�. The idea of a food-secure future is now possible if such innovations highlighted herewith and many others that are out there can be edified. Agricultural transformation is a decades-long process which involves modernization of on-farm production, shifting production towards more value addition. Agricultural transformation is critical to growing the economy, reducing the cost of food, alleviating poverty and therefore delivering 100% food and nutrition security. It is under this premise that KCIC launched the AgriBiz programme that is funded by the European Union and Danida. The five year programme, funded at 5.1 billion is projecting to support 2,400 women and youth-led agribusiness enterprises across the country, with an initial rollout of business incubation hubs in 8 counties; Bungoma, Kilifi, Machakos, Kiambu, Meru, Isiolo, Kisii and Uasin Gishu. The AgriBiz programme will also create linkages to financial institutions to enable women and youth gain the much-needed capital to grow their enterprises. To fill the capacity gap, the programme will also work hand in hand with training institutions including agricultural training centers (ATCs). Enjoy reading. Makena Mworia, Editorial Director and KCIC Clients Services Director. Live Green magazine is a quarterly magazine published by the KCIC Group. Each quarter we cover different articles from different themes. We welcome you to share your articles for publication consideration by contacting us via communication@kenyacic.org. You can also reach out to us for placement of adverts on info@kenyacic.org.


Issue 14

Farming on the blockchain bechnology

Farming on the blockchain Technology By Pamela Okutoyi

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Photo Source:- pixabay

or many people, blockchain technology is associated with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Hundreds of articles have proclaimed the benefits of using blockchain technology in agriculture. The real question is: can blockchain outlive the hype and deliver real value to farmers? Ifarm Konnect, a Kenya-based startup and an AgriBiz client at Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) that enables micro-investors to fund smallholder farmers for a percentage of proceeds, is leveraging blockchain technology to monitor farmlands and provide agronomic advice to enhance productivity. Ifarm Konnect onboards farmers on its platform and connects them to investors seeking to finance agricultural interventions that boost productivity, improve livelihoods, promote water efficiency and enhance food security in Africa. The agritech company promotes blockchain’s ability to be a source of truth about the state of a farm, inventory and good farm practices. By utilizing a combination of software and a mobile application, the company is assisting farmers with technical support to maximize their farm produce and quality. “Our mission is to enhance the productivity of our clients by accelerating their access to agribusiness innovations; Water technologies, agribusiness finance, agronomical/technical support and sustainable markets,” said one of the directors at Ifarm Konnect, Lenny Nyakinya. Lenny explains that the company is encouraging the use technology in the agricultural industry to fully optimize on the benefits of farming. This move, he says has gained more relevance in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic in ensuring sustained support following the disruption of supply chains. The mobile app, known as “The Plant Doctor”, enables farmers to get training and advise through virtual field agents. Lenny says the website is integrated with the app and targets clients, sponsors and investors from all over the world. Kenya Climate Innovation Center - Issue 14

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Farming on the blockchain bechnology

The platform integrates all the processes from investing and signing contracts to tracking the farms and onboarding off-takers. He confirms they have partners in Singapore, Norway and Uganda. In addition, farmers without smartphones are able to access the platform through a USSD model. “By dialing *483*53#, these farmers are able to register and get services from Ifarm Konnect irrespective of the location. An SMS code set up, enables the farmers to send in their queries and get prompt responses,” he says. Currently, Lenny says the company has focused on the value chains of herbs (mint, coriander and parsley), tropical fruits (passion fruits, mangoes and pawpaws) and a few vegetables (snow peas and French beans). He however notes that, “For farmers outside our database, we do link them to interested investors or markets.” According to Lenny, farmers are often exposed to unpredictable weather conditions. Using blockchain technology to monitor and predict such changes can be crucial to improve crop survival, maintain prices and even save jobs. “Remote sensing of weather data can help prevent losses due to the damage brought by unexpected calamities on crops.” He adds that with blockchain technology, consumers can trace the source of products and the entire farming process. To attain this goal, the company employs a cocktail of approaches. Ifarm Konnect does not own a single farm. So that means it is purely a technology company. Lenny says that they identify farmers, vet them and sponsor those they deem will bring the most returns and outputs immediately, while those with potential are put on the waiting list. Currently, Ifarm Konnect has more one thousand registered farmers from across the country who benefit from their services. Although the uptake of the technology is slow, Lenny is hopeful that by the end of the year, more farmers will adopt the technology and help safeguard food security in the country. “The first-time registration and mapping are costly but in future as we keep upgrading, the process will be much easier,” Lenny says. Blockchain is coming in for agriculture in a big way. It will make it easier to track, manage and transact all kinds of agricultural assets, from crops to inventory to precision data. Blockchain is a low level behind the scenes technology that creates secure databases. It is opening a wealth of potentially new options for collecting data and automating farm management.

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Issue 14

Interview-Cherish fruit world

INTERVIEW Cherish Fruit World. Packaging honey the sustainable way By Vivian Kwame

Packaging is an essential element in addressing key challenges of sustainable food consumption and waste management across the world. It is a crucial aspect of delivering sustainable products and services to consumers.. Cherish Fruit World, one of the AgriBiz clients, is an innovative agro-processing company which aims to promote a healthy lifestyle, pocket-friendly products, waste reduction as well as food safety issues by packaging their honey in biodegradable sachets. We reached out to Alex Kipchichir, the commercial manager at Cherish fruit world to shed more light on their new venture of packaging honey in sachets as well as their future prospects.

Here are the excerpts:

1. Tell us about cherish fruit world

packaging in that there were no smaller packs

company whose mission is to enrich a healthy

sachets which were also more affordable to

Cherish Fruit World is an agro-processing lifestyle through providence of naturally processed products. The company was

started in 2016 with a vision of processing

naturally grown fruits into juices, fruit powders and fruit bars. Unfortunately, that whole

process required a lot of capital and so we

of honey. We began packaging them in 10gms low income consumers who can purchase a single sachet for as low as Kshs 7. Another

concern was the hygiene issues in hotels and

restaurants, especially during this pandemic period.

shifted our main focus into processing honey

When most restaurants serve you the famous

and restaurants.

popularly known as dawa, they tend to serve

into sachets and distributing them to hotels

2. What inspired your new project of processing honey into sachets?

When we started, we had a company where brokers would come, buy honey from us then

sell it at a higher price and so we decided to do it ourselves. In addition, we saw that there was a very big gap in the market in terms of

Kenya Climate Innovation Center - Issue 14

mixture of ginger, lemon, hot water and honey you honey on the side and in case you do not

end up consuming it all, they return it to the main jar.

The constant serving, returning to the jar, re-serving using the same honey shooters has proven to be unhygienic.

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3. Are the sachets sustainable and what is the packaging set?

Yes, we find them very sustainable given the fact that our current packaging is 80%

biodegradable. Though we are now planning on improving its quality by making it 100%

biodegradable and also using carton boxes for packaging bulk orders.

As much as we would like to use glass jars, they are disadvantageous in that, they restrain your

honey usage and they tend to be a bit pricey for an average consumer.

We package our honey in 10gms sachets which

are mostly sold individually then we also have the 45gms sachets which are equivalent to 450gms for our bulk orders.

Though to be honest, we prefer selling them in

bulk and then from that, they can be sold individually by supermarkets and restaurants.

4. Compared to other providers in the market,

would you say you guys are more affordable? We are comparable. Our pricing is quite

strategic because of the kind of packaging that we use and its uniqueness. For example, if

we package for hotels, they are sold in bulk and so we tend to offer a lower price compared to standard costings.

5. How has the market response been so far?

Interview-Cherish fruit world

months since we ventured into honey processing. I would say our conversion rate is around

40%. This means that out of every 10 outlets that we approach, at least three or four of them purchase our products immediately.

6. Given the nature of your business, would you

say

that

Kenyans

towards a healthy lifestyle?

are

gravitating

For sure they are. These days Kenyans are will-

ing to spend an extra shilling to achieve a healthy lifestyle, especially with the current pandemic. It has made most people rethink their lifestyle and hygienic choices and now

they are gravitating towards a healthy lifestyle and this has been very beneficial to the business

7. What are some of the benefits of being under the AgriBiz?

The AgriBiz program is beneficial to us as it cre-

ates an opportunity for us to meet with other investors. Also, the technical expertise and financial support are beneficial to us. We are therefore glad to have been enrolled into it. 8. Any Challenges?

Currently one of the main challenges we are facing is the pandemic which has affected our main target audience, the hospitality industry.

In addition, we always face lack of knowledge;

The market response has been good so far

given that we have only been in it for three

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Interview-Cherish fruit world

Most consumers are not aware of the

beneficial properties of honey and given that we sell pure and raw honey which easily crystallizes, they tend to think it is not legitimate.

9. Future plans?

Currently, our main profit centre is Nairobi but we are looking to expand nationally by June

Tanzania given that they have a very good and receptive market for honey.

We are also planning on supplying our

products to shops soon. Finally, aside from

being the largest honey brand in Africa, we intend on replacing processed sugar with our honey.

2021 and supply our products across Kenya.

Interview conducted by Vivian Kwame In two years, we hope to expand regionally across East Africa specifically in Rwanda and

Photo Source:- pixabay

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Opinion Piece

Sustainable agribusinesses lie upon small-scale farmers By Arnold Muthanga

Photo Source:- pixabay

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gricultural markets have existed for many centuries and there is nothing new to the innate practice of food being produced, processed and sold. Under national and international development pressures however, there was the advent of agribusiness that invoked the wide use of technologies to foster socio-economic transformations. The latter has ushered the novelty of operational and commercial apparatus whose imperatives are mainly profits, low production costs and consumer satisfaction. Consequently, the contemporary agrifood economies are leaned towards the more urgent money-making priorities. Largely, the critical focus on food's life-supporting properties (the fundamental properties of food and agriculture) of nutrition and meeting farmers' needs have been negated. This is in addition to the neglect of the biological equilibrium that is very necessary for sustained harvests. In developing countries, food demand is disproportionately growing in comparison to the population growth. Kenya’s agricultural productivity has remained modest at ….against an increasing population growth rate of 2.3 percent. Undoubtedly, Kenya’s agricultural productivity does not exceed the population growth. A fact that has been partially attributed to resource mismanagement of land exploitation without the necessary attention to soil and water conservation. This results to severe land degradation evident through soil erosion, loss of agrobiodiversity and depletion of soil nutrients. There is a need to focus on the efficient use of available resources of land and water for sustainable agribusiness production. To advance socio-economics through agriculture while enhancing environmental stewardship, profits have to be compatible with sustainability. Natural resources used for agricultural production are finite and the agribusiness model’s longevity, high yield and competitiveness, rely on their efficient utilization.

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Sustainable Agribusinesses among Small-Scale farmers

The Kenyan agriculture sector is dominated by small-scale farms (small scale production accounts for 78% of the agricultural production) between the acreage of 0.2 - 3 hectares. Hence, small farms are at the pinnacle of sustainable agribusiness in Kenya, which is a global response to ecological, social, and health risks present in the modern communities as a result of globalization and economic growth. To augment Kenya from traditional food-deficit agriculture models to sustainable food surplus chains there have been several interventions such as the AgriBiz program in Kenya with other similar programs across the continent like Green Agribusiness Fund in Rwanda and Nigeria.

Small scale production accounts for 78% between the acreage of 0.2 to 3 hectares.

Photo Source:- pixabay

These interventions embolden a vision of where food security and biodiversity are a result of sustainable agribusiness development. Hundreds of farms that are enrolled in these programs are molded into reorienting agricultural productivity to enhance climate change adaptation and mitigation. In return, these farms can manage farm waste through recycling plant nutrients, conserving water and protecting the soil and air quality. Further, they integrate crop and livestock enterprises in their farm operations that create positive community engagement through a broader context of farmers' involvement. Lastly, they are an upbeat social impact as they respond to the immediate concerns of women and youth employment.

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Issue 14

Kenya’s Natural Honey Demand

Female farmer and beekeeper working tirelessly to meet Kenya’s demand for natural honey By ASM Team

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Photo Source:- pixabay

long the busy Mombasa Highway nearly 30 minutes out of the inskirts of Nairobi City, located on Slip Road behind Ramtons, stands one of the major players in the beekeeping industry in Kenya. Apiculture Venture, a modestly sized apiary, is home to one innovative female beekeeper – Pauline Otila Kamwara. On a brisk day during the Covid-19, not long ago, when the number of cases were over a thousand a day in Kenya, the apiary’s main building was still buzzing with activity. 12 young employees, were crisscrossing as they carried out some of the operation’s daily tasks; Running the shop, organizing the storeroom, filling jars of honey, making honey-based goods and going over the accounts. Pauline, who led a hard-driving corporate lifestyle for 12 years, is a third-generation beekeeper and an avid owner of one of the major beekeeping companies in Kenya. She is also one of the AgriBiz clients. Pauline left behind the cooperate life and set out to create a market that understood the unique value of a product she had grown fond of. “From the beginning, I wanted to take up the bee business,” she says. “I took the challenge and reproduced the training I received in my previous work to set up my business. I did not want to just be a beekeeper – I wanted to help and show women and young people how to be great bee keepers fulltime.” Pauline’s approach to apiculture blends the ancient with the modern. Some years ago, women in the community were not allowed to keep bees as they were reared mainly by elderly villagers, especially those who lived in forests or along boundaries, but times have changed. Pauline’s venture is unique in that she works directly with beekeepers, providing them with technical support and training as well as harvesting, packaging and providing them with a market. She sells all her honey independently. Kenya Climate Innovation Center - Issue 14

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Kenya’s Natural Honey Demand

When the honey comes to the market, it is sold at a higher price, from which the farmer does not benefit, but the broker does,” Pauline explains. She says that in order to give value to the farmer, she contracts farmers directly and walks with them throughout the entire journey as well as providing them with a market. “I take my services to the farmer and walk with them until harvesting.” The proud beekeeper says she is currently working with almost 2,500 farmers who are very happy and satisfied with the returns the beekeeping business brings. To differentiate Apiculture Venture honey, Pauline has made sure they meet the requirements for organic certification. Their honey travels pretty much from hive to jar, where it gradually crystallizes. The pure, raw honey thickens and solidifies, unlike the clear, runny pasteurized honey that lasts longer on the supermarket shelves. Apiculture Venture honey is wilder and tastier. The general public has less discerning taste buds, so Pauline found the need to support and ensure beekeepers appreciate high quality honey. The main apiary’s foyer, for instance, is dedicated to training the public on the basics and operations of modern beekeeping. “For the first cycle of honey production, I train farmers on modern beekeeping because I believe practical training in beekeeping is very important. Bee keeping is not rocket science. It is something that we can all learn and do it right,” she says. The venture, Pauline says, also sells beekeeping equipment and offers pollination services which she is proud to note that has been privileged to work with Bidco Africa. For pollination services, she charges Ksh 50 per day for every hive. She is presently selling honey directly to packers, stores and to individuals. “The business became trendy because we sought high quality and original honey,” Pauline explains. She says her training with Kenya Bureau of Standards to set standards for beekeeping is what has made it possible to come this far. She can see the big picture and maintain a granular awareness of small details – something that has served her well on the farm. “You can visualize all the steps that you need to put into action,” she says. She also knew which proposals to write and what partnerships to pursue. As climate change causes erratic and unpredictable weather patterns, this affects the growth of flowery plants, which consequently enhances the severity of bee keeping risks. If it is too dry, the bees cannot collect. With the variable weather we see now, each year is a new scenario. To manage the risks of honey production, Pauline decided to diversify her revenue stream. Apart from honey and honey equipment, she added creamed honey which is a new product that her customers really love. “Honey has kept me in the market and the demand is high which I cannot meet on my own,” she says. Pauline’s company owns 1,000 beehives in different parts of the country where she has established her own colony that offer pollination services and honey. Beekeeping can be done by everyone but Pauline says, we need to do it in the right way.

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Kirinyaga County

Small scale rice farming business thriving in Kirinyaga County

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By Grace Akinyi

Rice farming in Mwea. Photo: Safi Organics who makes organic fertiliser for farmers

eep in the heart of Kirinyaga County, Mwea Tebere Region, a small-scale rice farming business is flourishing. Registered as a sole proprietorship business which has been in existence for four years, Clarance Enterprises mainly focuses on agribusiness with a main objective of providing food and employment to members of the community. Jane Muguchu, the founder of Clarance Enterprises explains that she leases land from farmers to grow rice in Mwea Irrigation Scheme, offers mechanized cultivation services to farmers at a fee per acreage and buys rice in bulk from farmers during harvest in December when the prices are lower due to high supply and later sell the rice when the prices are favorable. “As a business owner, I decided to indulge in agribusiness because my satisfaction is to see crops growing and eventually, they become food for many,” She says. Ms. Muguchu further explains that the idea of engaging in both farming and buying of rice from farmers was guided by factors such as the business as a source of income and livelihood. “When I buy rice during harvest at a lower price, then sell later after the prices have improved, I am able to get some income and create employment since I engage people from the community in all the operations.” As for mechanized cultivation services, she takes pride in her capacity and ability to offer these services as far as Narok where farmers engage in wheat farming and Kitale where farmers mainly grow maize. Back home, she says most farmers rely on her tractors for rice and horticultural farming. Since the inception of the enterprise, the tractor business has been doing well; Two - three employees are able to get their livelihoods. For rice business, they engage upto ten employees based on the volume of work to support the sourcing, drying, storing and selling.

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Kirinyaga County

Rice farming in Mwea.

Looking at the entire engagement and operations channel, Clarance Enterprises is directly or indirectly impacting lives considering the rice sold to business people also creates an avenue for more job opportunities. COVID – 19 has not impacted her business significantly, since the business leases land from farmers a year earlier and therefore the farming is currently ongoing. Nevertheless, considering that the business depends mainly on savings or profit ploughed back for its operations, the delay in payment of goods and services offered has negatively affected the smooth flow of the business. Just like there are challenges in business, Clarance Enterprises is not an exemption. Capital for expansion is a major challenge. The business intends to expand in various facets and even explore other value chains like maize packaging and supply to millers. She says that her hope lies in the AgriBiz programme as a client. She anticipates to get financing so that she can expand the enterprise and reach more farmers in other value chains.

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Climate-smart agriculture is key to a resilient future

Climate-smart agriculture is key to a resilient future

By Vincent Ogaya

Photo Source:- pexels.com

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and is key to supporting livelihoods and economies. It is the primary source of food, energy and a host of natural resources. Yet we are living at a time when unpredictable weather patterns aggravate drought and desertification, resulting to loss of arable land. This disproportionately affects communities who so much depend on it, either directly or indirectly. Land degradation and drought are challenges that are intricately linked to loss of biodiversity, food insecurity and unemployment. Rapid population growth, increased urbanization and changing consumption patterns have generated excessive pressure on our finite land resources, leading to land degradation around the country. Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) draws a number of lessons from initiatives designed to strengthen climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts as a way of enabling communities cope with the worrying trends of climate-induced challenges including land degradation and desertification. They believe that through sustainable consumption and production, coupled with the use of appropriate technologies, Kenya can be placed on the path towards sustainable development. As a way of coping with persistent droughts and increased threats of desertification, KCIC continually supports enterprises engaged in Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) through various service offerings. While this works for increased yields per acreage relative to the more traditional approaches to farming, CSA also builds resilience in agricultural production systems through energy and water efficiency, among other sustainable practices. Cultivating drought tolerant but nutritious crops such as millet and cassava is one way of supporting good nutrition and sustainable livelihoods. In this regard, KCIC works with Dash Crop Limited, a commercial aggregator of climate-resilient crops with contracted farmers in Nyanza and Western regions. Kenya Climate Innovation Center - Issue 14

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Sound Policy and Programme Interventions

Photo Source:- pexels.com

In addition to enhancing food security, the cultivation of such crops also guarantees steady income for the farmers, despite challenges of persistent droughts and adverse weather patterns. KCIC supports the development of technologies for precision agriculture, which is meant to facilitate the use of farm imaging services including satellite and drone imaging, ground based sensors and mobile platforms to source for information on soil health, water stress, temperature and moisture. This enables farmers to make sound decisions including when to plant and when to irrigate. A KCIC-affiliated enterprise, Lentera Limited, deploys such technologies for farming as a means of improving yields despite challenges of encroaching aridity and degraded soils. AgriFlora Organic Solutions, another client at KCIC, is engaged in the production of organic fertiliser from food waste, materials which would otherwise only work to pollute the environment. The use of organic fertiliser enables crops to not only increase their tolerance to drought and resistance to pests, but also improves their ability to take up nutrients thereby improving the quantity and quality of farm yields. Such endeavors do not only address food security and the challenge of climate change, but they also provide jobs and contribute to the growth of the economy in line with Kenya’s development strategies. For instance, the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Strategy recognizes the excellent opportunity CSA presents for transforming agriculture by bringing together development and climate change while integrating the tridimensional approach to sustainable development - the economic, social as well as environmental aspects. As a country, we need to rededicate our efforts towards championing sustainable consumption and production patterns. We also call for concerted efforts from all players as we work for a sustainable planet in order to keep in sight the 2030 targets envisioned in the Sustainable Development Goals. Kenya Climate Innovation Center - Issue 14

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Interview - Summeat Enterprises

INTERVIEW Summeat Enterprises. One on one with the Kenyan farmer formulating organic feeds for livestock By Vivian Kwame. A healthy food chain begins at the farm. Organic feeds provide all the nutritional value without all the harmful chemicals, hormones and fillers commonly found in non-organic feeds. Summeat Enterprises believes in developing and implementing modern formulated organic feeds in their feedlots to ensure that their produce has great quality meat that is tender and rich in all nutrients and taste for their consumer. We reached out to Faith Munini, the director at Summeat Enterprises, who shed more light on their business and as well as the market at large. 1. Tell us about more about Summeat

3. What is this process of livestock keeping?

Summeat Enterprise is a livestock keeping and

received at the farm, they go through an

Enterprises

trading business. We buy livestock, fatten them

then sell them to slaughterhouses around Kenya. We have a feedlot where we keep the

livestock for a specific period of time under a

feeding program on specially formulated animal feeds to provide them with an

We have a system in which, when the bulls are induction process where they are treated and put in our online system. This allows us to

monitor their progress from the moment we receive them to when they are delivered to the buyers.

environment best suited for them.

4. What makes your products different from

2. Which is the process of formulating your

I believe our processes set us apart. Right from

organic feeds?

To ensure that the livestock reach the desired weight, we work closely with a veterinary to

come up with the formulation for the feeds. It is a long process for one to get the right feed and

the others?

the start, the sourcing of the livestock, the

induction into our systems, the type of formula

we use for our feeds, all ensure that we have excellent quality of produce.

for every farm that has a feedlot or ranch they

normally have their own specific formula to suit their desired feed.

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Interview - Summeat Enterprises

5. How is the market response?

8. How has Covid-19 affected your business?

had any complaints from clients about the

reduction in sales because slaughterhouses

The market has been great and we have not quality of our livestock.

6. What has been your experience so far in the business? Livestock business is quite unique, in that you

only work with a select group of people who you sell your produce to. It does not have many complications.

7. Who is your target audience?

Our main customers are slaughterhouses and high-end meat distributors.

We have faced a few challenges, for example a have reduced the number of animals they purchase.

9. Any other Challenges that you face?

Fluctuating prices. The market has not been

standardized yet and so the price of goods today will be the same tomorrow.

10. How does the future look like for your business?

I hope that we will be able to work towards standardization in the industry more so in regards to prices. This will make the industry more lucrative. Also, since we are now part of AgriBiz, we look forward to more technical

support, market linkages and even financing so that we may continue to expand.

Interview conducted by Vivian Kwame

Photo Source:- pixabay

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A poultry Outgrower Scheme Getting It Right By Grace Akinyi

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A poultry Outgrower Scheme Getting It Right

One of the model farms four poultry. Photo: Smat Acre

poultry farm in Nakuru Kenya known as Naxveg Kuku Fresh Limited has come up with an outgrower scheme model of business to help achieve numerous sustainable agricultural objectives for farmers. They supply the farmers with birds and inputs, and improve sustainable sourcing practices by connecting smallholder poultry farmers into mutually beneficial partnerships with large buyers such as restaurants. This increases smallholder farmers’ incomes from improved yields and quality output, through access to credit and markets. During an interview with Naxveg Kuku Fresh founder Mugereki Mwathi, he says that they thrive in providing ready market farmers. “These farmers face a lot of challenges when it comes to post harvest handling and are not empowered to store or process these chickens,” says Mwathi. “We then come in and relieve them of this burden because we realized that when they slaughter the birds and take them to the market themselves, consumers take advantage of them.” Naxveg Kuku Fresh Limited handles the hygiene of slaughtering and packaging. They also offer storage facilities to the farmers for what the market is not able to absorb immediately. “What we do basically is to eliminate the pressure from the farmers’ side that what they have must be sold on the same day or else they will suffer a complete loss,” he says. Mwathi further explains that before getting into the value addition space, they used to sell animal feeds to these farmers. After realizing that it was becoming hard for the farmers to get financing, they decided to change this into a value addition business for all parties involved by providing the farmers with inputs, and take away the chicken from them at an affordable price of KShs 350-400 which he says keeps varying depending on the market value. ‘

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A poultry Outgrower Scheme Getting It Right

“Our main aim is to grow with them and make them sustainable.”

Naxveg Kuku Limited

Photo:- Naxveg Kuku Limited

A positive aspect for Naxveg Kuku Limited enterprise is that they have had a ready market for the chicken since their launch in 2019; They sell to restaurants, hotels and individual customers both fresh and frozen chicken meat from which they earn a commission. Currently, they are experiencing low sales due to the negative impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on the hospitality industry. Asked how they select these farmers, Mwathi explains, “These are farmers we have worked with before and we carefully select people who have the capacity to grow based on …... Our main aim is to grow with them and make them sustainable.” They have maintained quality standards in terms of how their chicken hatches are built and the feeds and vaccinations used. As an outgrower scheme that is just starting out, Mwathi says the uptake has been quite slow compared to pre-corona period and the pandemic impact almost knocked them off the market but as a business enterprise they have maintained resilience, by focusing on the future and that is what has kept them on the move. There is also hope for the enterprise as AgriBiz comes in to offer them technical advisory as well as financial support.

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Popped Corn Is Great but So Is Sorghum and Millet

Popped corn is great but so is sorghum and millet

By Pamela Okutoyi

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Photo Source:- Kieru LTD

earl millet and sorghum are among cereals referred to as ‘orphaned’. Despite being an excellent source of dietary fiber, they are traditionally grown and consumed by a few people. A couple in Embu however, is adding value to these rare cereals and producing healthy and nutritious snacks. When Elizaphan and Lilian Gichangi could not find a healthy choice of snacks for their children, they resorted to popping pearl millet and sorghum just like imported corn is popped into popcorns which are popular among young people. That is how Kieru Ltd, their agribusiness venture was birthed. “We started a small shop retailing cereals and spices in Embu town but due to lack of good snacks for our children, we realized that there was too much millet that was going to waste. We decided to explore other ways of adding value to the cereals to make the nutritious snacks,” says Mr. Gichangi. The couple started the popping business in October 2016 following a training at Bioversity International, an NGO which works to improve nutrition and climate change adaptation, where they specialized in popping pearl millet. They contract local farmers to supply sorghum and millet which they pop, pack and sell. “To make the snacks, we first winnow then thoroughly clean and dry the cereals. Once completely dry, we pop them using a special popping machine. The end product is a sweet-smelling white pop with brownish edges. After popping, we blend the pops with milled baobab, dried mangoes, honey and soya to give it different flavors,” Mr. Gichangi further explains. From a kilo of millet, the couple gets 144 cubes of snacks which they sell at Kshs. 10 per piece. “Our products have been approved by Kenya Bureau of Standards and they can be consumed by people of all ages,” Mr. Gichangi adds.

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Issue 14

Popped Corn Is Great but So Is Sorghum and Millet

“We decided to explore other ways of adding value to the cereals to make the nutritious snacks,” said

Mr. Gichangi

Photo Source:- Kieru LTD

He explains that the “never-seen-before” popcorns will encourage more people to eat sorghum and millet instead of the usual way of consuming them after boiling or milling. Being a new product in the market, Mr. Gichangi says that this exciting venture was not without its challenges. They had to work for long hours sometimes until late in the night to get the desired product. “Convincing people that millet and sorghum are just as great snacks, was not an easy task. Most people only use millet and sorghum for making porridge. I used to hawk the snacks in different towns such as Embu, Meru, Mwea and other neighbouring towns to get a wider market,” Mr. Gichangi recalls. The agripreneur is however hopeful that what started as a small cereal and spice shop is now growing to become an innovative business that is promoting the consumption of locally produced foods, supporting smallholder farmers in Embu and a source of nutritious snacks for children. “We are working with 200 farmers in Embu from whom we buy produce and pay for it promptly, thereby encouraging conservation farming of traditional crops. We are hoping that we can expand this further especially with the support that comes with the AgriBiz programme,” he says. “We have plans to scale the business to larger markets in Kenya to encourage healthy snacking and conserve the neglected crops.” Currently, Kieru Ltd is popping 50 kilograms daily and hopes to increase the production to 300 kilograms per day in the coming years. The business has created employment for 10 people who work at the industry to process and market the products. “We are happy to contribute to the use of traditional and underutilized crops to provide healthy snacks as well as quality employment that supports smallholder farmers,” the couples says. A small pack of popped sorghum and millet sells for Kshs. 10 and Kshs. 50 for a 40 grams pack. He also sells precooked soya beans, soya drinks, soya flour, honey, dried mangoes and turmeric. Pearl millet is considered to be highly nutritious with high levels of protein, magnesium, zinc and fiber content. It also has a type of amino acid known as lysine. In Kenya, sorghum is cultivated mainly for its seeds, although it can also be grown for fodder. Kenya Climate Innovation Center - Issue 14

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Issue 14

Sound policy formulations are the pinnacle for SMEs survival

Sound policy formulations are the pinnacle for SMEs survival

By Makena Mworia

W

orld over, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role in the success of economies and account for a majority of businesses globally, which is why they are considered the main drivers of entrepreneurship. As the backbone of most supply chains, even large established businesses depend on them in some way. The enterprises are instrumental in driving competitiveness in businesses by offering innovative products and services across several sectors of the economy. They are also pivotal in promoting new markets and widening the tax base. The SME sector typically faces numerous challenges, key among them limited access to capital, inadequate knowledge and skills, low absorption of technology and poor infrastructure. With the escalating coronavirus disease (Covid-19) coupled with strict measures put in place to contain its spread, prospects for these businesses can only get glimmer for a sector that is already handicapped in so many ways. Economic disruptions witnessed include, but are not limited to low spending as well as restricted activity in many production and supply chains. This has in turn put pressure on every sector of the economy particularly the SME sector. Underlying challenges have now been compounded by a ravaging pandemic whose end is not anywhere near sight. This threatens not only income levels for households, but also- to a greater extent- economic productivity of our nation as a whole. At Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC), the SMEs we support are uniquely placed to address climate change which is another global challenge of our time, but with devastating consequences for the future, if left unchecked. Kenya Climate Innovation Center - Issue 14

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Issue 14

Opinion Piece by Makena Mworia

This moment therefore places on them a huge burden of facing twin crises: the one of environment on the one hand and that of health on the other. The pandemic has taught us to venture into new ways of buying and selling. While a number of the SMES we support were already established in online business, we are now encouraging all of them to conduct businesses online not only as a mitigation measure during this pandemic, but also for future prospects. There has been an increased shift towards virtual operations with businesses heeding the government’s call for cashless transactions as a way to reduce handling of cash, a practice which the government believes could play a role in reducing transmission of the virus. SMEs should therefore be able to set up innovative ways to ensure they remain competitive even with the new operating environment.

Photo Source:- pexels.com

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Grow Bags Company Empowering the Community

New farming technique introduced By Grace Akinyi in Meru County

M

itsaelongos Enterprise, an agribusiness company and an AgriBiz client from Meru town has launched a program known as Lima Lipa Polepole, where they are empowering youth and women by giving them loans in form of greenhouses, water tanks, grow bags and motorbikes to promote agribusiness in the region. “We have this model where we not only provide asset financing but also a demo farm where farmers come and learn more about our services,” Rachel Gakii the founder of Mitsaelongos Enterprise says. “For the greenhouses and drip irrigation systems, we loan them to farmers and they start paying for them once they have harvested. Repayments for motorbike loans start immediately while a one month grace period is given for water tank loans.” The main project at the moment is grow bags which Rachel informs us are in high demand although they are not included in the Lima Lipa Polepole program. They manufacture them locally using treated UV nets and sell to farmers who want to establish kitchen gardens. For those who want to go into commercial farming with 10 bags and above, they loan them the grow bags which they start repaying after one week, for a period of one month. “The grow bag business has created employment to many people. There is a youth group who provide vertical farming services to farmers and that is how they earn their daily meal,” she says. “The purchase of the grow bags is supported with training on how to use them for farming.” In addition to these activities, they also give farmers free agronomy support. The agronomist helps the farmers to develop methods that improve soil productivity and increase their crop yields. The company frequently visits the farmers to assess their projects’ performance and offer advice. Kenya Climate Innovation Center - Issue 14

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Grow Bags Company Empowering the Community

Photo Source:- pixabay

Rachel emphasizes that the business is very sustainable. “Farmers who use our grow bags usually harvest within 30 days,” she says. Since greenhouse farming is relatively expensive to small scale farmers, the enterprise is promoting grow bags which are on high demand. Mitsaelongos Enterprise’s vision is to increase the production of the grow bags owing to the growing demand as it will translate into employment opportunities. As an agribusiness, they are considering venturing into hydroponics and aeroponic farming at their demo farm. These two types of farming usually require specialised expertise for the devices used and one of the enterprise’s strategies is to train farmers on how to use them.

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A publication of KCIC Group,

Strathmore University Business School, 3rd Floor, Ole Sangale Rd, Madaraka.

P.O Box 49162 - 00200, Nairobi, Kenya. Office Line Number:- +254703034701 Website:- www.kcicgroup.org

Produced by Africa Sustainability Matters

Profile for Kenya Climate Innovation Center

Live Green Oct issue  

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Live Green Oct issue  

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