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JANUARY ISSUE

LIVE GREEN MAGAZINE 2021

INSIDE STORIES

01 Features on SMEs. 02 Opinion Pieces. 03 Pictorial. 04 Open opportunities. EDITORIAL

Solomon Irungu N, Managing Editor and Communication Manager, KCIC Consulting.

HARNESSING INTERNATIONAL NETWORKS BY DOMESTIC SMALL AND MEDIUM-LEVEL ENTERPRISES (SMES)


CREDITS:Executive Editor: Dr. Edward Mungai Editorial Director: Ruth Ndegwa Managing Editors: Ernest Chitechi, Solomon Irungu N. Editor: Michelle Mungata Writers: Pamela Okutoyi, Stephen Kihiko, Vivan Kwame, Arnold Muthanga, Michelle Mungata, Solomon Irungu N. Layout: Moses Kimemia, Michelle Mungata, Solomon Irungu N. Photography: KCIC Consulting Other image sources: pexels.com, pixabay.com, unsplash.com


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Kenya Climate Innovation Center | Editorial Piece

EDITORIAL IN 2021 THERE IS NEED FOR A GLOBAL EXPANSION OF SMES The culmination of 2020 and consequent commencement of 2021 is a reprieve to many especially those in businesses because the new year offers a new hope for the growth of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). The year 2020 saw many businesses go under while those that remained afloat suffered the unprecedented impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Globally, the pandemic has not only affected how people trade but it has also resulted into major economic meltdowns. Globally, the pandemic has not only affected how people trade but it has also resulted into major economic meltdowns. This year has however started on a high note as Coronavirus cases continue to suppress in some countries while probable vaccines continue to infiltrate in

Additionally, there is need to cooperate adequately with

other states.

different firms to create networks of shared insights in production, innovation and marketing.

Does this year offer a prospect for SMEs that have been struggling to not only produce but also find markets for

There is hope for business development this year and the

their goods and services? What do SMEs need to do to tap

happenings of the past year should not at all dissuade any

into international markets?

entrepreneur from setting ambitious goals. Like the sustainability expert Dr. Edward Mungai says, it is time for

2021 will great year because most of the challenges that

SMEs to set Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs), goals that

cropped up last year will have solutions developing this

appear so big that they are scary to the entrepreneur.

year. There is need for Kenyan SMEs to specifically zero in their business strategies towards a worldwide market

If anything, markets are opening up in Europe, Asia and

outreach. It is paramount, at this very onset of the year, to

America for produce from Africa, and internet sites like

conduct statistical market surveillance with an aim to

LinkedIn have offered platforms for sourcing for these

acquiring unfamiliar markets that they have not tapped

markets.

into or even considered before. This will also be strengthened by SMEs engaging in

Happy reading!

advanced innovations for their products, items variation and collaborative ventures like what is offered by Kenya

Solomon Irungu N.,

Climate Ventures (kcv.co.ke).

Managing Editor and Communication Manager, KCIC Consulting.

LIVE GREEN | Issue 15


Kenya Climate Innovation Center | About Live Green magazine

04

MAGAZINE ABOUT LIVE GREEN MAGAZINE Live Green magazine is a quarterly publication of KCIC Group (www.kcicgroup.org) which comprises Kenya Climate Innovation Center, Kenya Climate Ventures and KCIC Consulting. The publication highlights different topics across business incubation and acceleration of SMEs in the fields of agribusiness, renewable energy, water and waste management and commercial forestry; Investment management for climate-smart enterprises; And consulting for private sector development, sustainability, research, M&E and development communication. The publication also shares opportunities around these fields. In this issue of Live Green, we look at how SMEs can tap into existing international markets as well as create new markets for their products. Further, we have shared some of the opportunities that can be explored by SMEs that seek to expand their ventures especially after a tough business year of 2020. To run an advert on this publication, send an email to procurement@kenyacic.org.

LIVE GREEN | Issue 15


Kenya Climate Innovation Center | Busia’s first private hatchery farm | By Vivian Kwame

05

iven the current demand for food supply especially in the fish farming sector, business partners Fredrick Mainya and Fredrick Juma were inspired to start Hydro Victoria Hatchery Farm to fulfill one of the pillars of the Big Four Agendas set by the Kenyan Government, food security. “Our farm seeks to address the challenge of poor-quality of fish fingerlings by supplying the market with fingerlings and fish bred under a conducive environment and well fed for very nutritious final products,” Fredrick Juma says during an interview.

BUSIA’S FIRST PRIVATE HATCHERY FARM USING FISH CAGE TECHNOLOGY TO ADDRESS GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY Located along the shores of Lake Victoria in Busia county,

Fredrick believes that the fish cage technology is quite

the agribusiness mainly focuses on fish cage farming

sustainable in the sense that the fish get to thrive in high

technology which is relatively new in the Kenyan market

quality water which is rich with dissolved oxygen,

compared to other East African countries and Western

maintained under the right temperature conditions and

countries across Europe.

also contains low levels of Ammonia Nitrate.

“Currently at the farm, we have 65 fish cages where we

The farm recently started the trapping of Black Soldier Fly

mainly produce tilapia and catfish with each cage having

(BSF) and use of black soldier larvae to bioprocess waste

an average of 1500 fish,” Fredrick continues.

into animal proteins. This is intended to lower feeding cost by production of larvae from BSF as an alternative protein

In order to avoid excess supply of production, the farm

feed supply from use of pig waste, chicken waste and

conducts a cycle of production to regulate the number of

dead fish as substrates for insect farming.

fish in the cages. “Aside from our cages, we also manage other fish cages for six investors who recently approached

The remains of the waste grass are used as organic

us. The cages are located both in Nairobi and Kisumu

manure in vegetable farming. About 2,000 small holder

county,” he adds.

farmers shall be contracted to produce and supply larvae from black soldier fly larvae. According to Fredrick, the

In addition to fish cage farming, the farm recently

fishing community in Kenya is on a path of growth given

expanded its 15 fish fingerlings nursing and brooding

that there is a lot of good will coming from the

ponds to 30 ponds allowing it to utilize its Tilapia

government and international donors such as the World

broodstock and improve production from 50,000

Bank and International Food and Agricultural

fingerlings to 200,000 fingerlings per month.

Development (IFAD).

LIVE GREEN | Issue 15


Kenya Climate Innovation Center | Busia’s first private hatchery farm | By Vivian Kwame

06

The two donors have managed to set up two programs respectively with the aim of supporting the growth of fish farming in Kenya.

Currently at the farm, we have 65 fish cages where we mainly produce tilapia and catfish with each cage having an average of 1500 fish, said Fredrick.

They are: IFAD programme and Kenya Climate Smart

Unfortunately, both youth and women are not able to

Agriculture project sponsored by the World bank which

easily be part of the value chain due to various factors

has been running for two years now.

such as lack of funds and land, he added.

Through programs like this, more women and youth are

Ever since the farm became part of AgriBiz which is fully

able to venture into aquaculture, giving the sector a boost.

funded by both the European Union and Danida, they

“Youth and women definitely have a place in the fish value

have noticed a notable difference in their businesses in

chain.

terms of support.

For example, for the youth, aside from fish production

Under the program, they have also received training on

they can be involved in the feed formulation and supply

record keeping and business plan development.

them to other farmers,” he says. As for the women, they can be involved in the storage aspect such as refrigeration of fish, they can also take part in the filleting of fish.

LIVE GREEN | Issue 15



Kenya Climate Innovation Center | Small-scale farmers into the global market | By Stephen Kihiko

08

HOW TO INTEGRATE SMALL-SCALE FARMERS INTO THE GLOBAL MARKET mall-scale agriculture is the primary source of

Notably, simultaneously raising agricultural productivity

food: it contributes immensely to the food

and strengthening small scale farmers access to the global

consumed in a majority of developing countries.

market will help mitigate the impacts of price volatility for

This high percentage therefore points at the role played by

the benefit of all. In addition, these efforts will go a long

small-scale agriculture in tackling food security

way in enhancing food security and reducing poverty.

internationally, as a source of food and as a source of livelihood for a large number of people living in poverty.

There are a number of actions that could help integrate small scale farmers into the global market including

In fact, according to UN-FAO, two thirds of the global

forming and organizing the farmers into associations.

population living in poverty today is dependent on

Governments among other stakeholders should build the

agriculture as the basis of their income.

value chain infrastructure to help the farmers access the global markets.

Despite the pivotal role played by agriculture in the world economy more so in developing countries, it is

This infrastructure may include warehousing, packaging

characterized by small production volumes of variable

and suitable transport means more so in rural areas

quality. These characteristics reflect the challenges facing

where most small scale farmers are based. Governments

these small-scale farmers including limited access to

around the world may also support small scale farmers

finance among other inputs, low levels of investment,

access global markets through policy intervention at the

limited access to improved agricultural technologies and

macro and trade level.

practices among others. Other efforts include revitalization of extension services It is agreeable that raising smallholder productivity is a

including technical services geared to good agricultural

strategic necessity. Attempts to raise productivity however,

practice and modern markets which will go a long into

will have limited success if smallholder linkages to the

helping these farmers access the global market.

global market are not strengthened simultaneously.

LIVE GREEN | Issue 15


Kenya Climate Innovation Center | Small-scale farmers into the global market | By Stephen Kihiko

09

According to FAO, two-thirds of the global population living in poverty today is dependent on agriculture as the basis of their income.

To help overcome the limited access to finance, stakeholders should develop financial credit mechanisms that support farmer groups and individual farmers to improve their linkages to the global market. Further efforts that will help integrate small-scale farmers into the global market include development or rather promotion of new models of farming such as contract farming. There is a need to address critical constraints to production for example access to productive land, access to vital farm inputs as well as access to knowledge channels such as training. Integrating small scale farmers into the global market offers many benefits to farmers. Of key importance is that access to the global market will lead to improvement in farmer income. In addition, integrating farmers into global markets will help increase demand assurance therefore stabilizing their income. Even of greater impact, is the fact that small scale farmers will be in a better position to convert from subsistence to commercial farming.

LIVE GREEN | Issue 15


Kenya Climate Innovation Center | For the Love of Herbs | By Michelle Mung’ata

10

FOR THE LOVE OF HERBS aura Nelima Lubisia, an entrepreneur at heart, has the

Some of the other beauty products made from the herbs

concept of value addition down to a T. The founder of

are herbal waters that she sells in small quantities to

Viakwetu (https://viakwetu.com/) finds

retailers and larger quantities to beauty companies which

innovative ways of developing new products from herbs.

they use to develop additional beauty products. She also

The engineering alumni from Jomo Kenyatta University of

manufactures skin butters and lip balms.

Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) started exploring different herbs out of interest in cooking. This interest led

Nelima has a pick and drop location in Nairobi for

her to discover the different health benefits that they

consumers interested in her products. She says, “The farm

offered.

has been highly productive this year. The harvests have been more plenty due to the steady rainfall we have

On her father’s farm in Ndalu, Bungoma County, she set

experienced in the region.” This has allowed her to land a

out to plant a variety of herbs. On the farm you will find

major deal with Quickmart supermarket, to deliver

chia seeds, flax seeds, lemon grass, lemon verbena,

200kgs of chia seeds a month.

hibiscus, rosemary, sage, peppermint, deal and stevia amongst others. She converts the herbs into dried spices,

Nelima is among the 50 entrepreneurs set to benefit from

herbal teas, sweeteners, composite flours and a variety of

the Proof of Concept funding under the AgriBiz program

beauty products. She puts an emphasis on the fact that

funded by the European Union(EU) and DANIDA and

her products are all organic and not chemically treated.

facilitated by the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC). Viakwetu joined AgriBiz in August 2020. She credits KCIC

Her venture began in 2016 after graduation when she

with empowering her to reach her potential.

quit full time employment in 2018 to focus on her business.On her farm you will find a variety of agricultural

She hopes to expand rapidly into the global market

activities, ranging from fish farming, rabbit rearing and

because the programme has also exposed her into open

chicken farming. The essence of having all these activities

opportunities that are frequently shared in the weekly

is to generate organic manure for the soils to remain

newsletter. “The program has given me confidence in

fertile. In addition, Nelima intercrops herbs with fruit

running my enterprise through the networks I have been

plants, which she also offers as dried fruits. The avocados

exposed to and the mentorship accorded to me through

she grows on the farm are used to make organic pressed

the competent business analysts,” she concludes.

oils that are suitable for use on your skin and hair too.

LIVE GREEN | Issue 15


01

02

Justus M Nguu C.E.O Meru Highlands Dairy takes us round Lisha Milk plant.

Caroline Chepkemboi of EldoTea Enterprises LTD, with some of the farmers


03

04

Converting saw dust, coffee husks and maize cobs to a form of energy at Brifurn LTD.

Chief Executive Officer Agriflora solutions demonstrating the process of how they make their organic fertilizer


Kenya Climate Innovation Center | A healthy solution to owning your glow | By Vivian Kwame

13

DIPSEA CARE NATURALS: A HEALTHY SOLUTION TO OWNING YOUR GLOW n the quest of trying to find a healthier solution for her

Grace, however, prefers to use the products as the main

sensitive skin, Grace Kimunya, an advocate, founded

ingredients for her products given that they are also

Dipsea care naturals which deal with the production of

suitable for external use.

natural skincare and hair products. "Dipsea care naturals started as a passion and interest. I have sensitive skin and

Having been in the green space for a while now, Grace

while looking for a healthier solution, I decided to enroll

notes that what sets her products apart from the others is

for soap making classes," she says.

her packaging. "As much as a good number of people in the green space are selling natural products, they still use

Due to the growing interest from family and friends she

plastics to package their products.

saw it as an opportunity to turn it into a business venture. "During this process, I also started receiving requests from

As for Dipsea care naturals, we use reusable jars made

family and friends who were also interested in trying out

out of aluminum for packaging. For example, the lip

soaps made from natural products such as neem powder,

butter tins can, later on, be used as a jewelry container by

turmeric, baobab tree and moringa powder among other

clients," she says.

natural ingredients," she adds. Unfortunately, the green space also has its challenges. It is Aside from the soaps, Dipsea care naturals also produce

an expensive field. Sourcing both the products and the

lip butter which is made from sweet almond oil, coconut

packaging is expensive and at the same time, one needs

oil, lemongrass and shea butter and beard balms which

to price their products in a way that is not too expensive

are made from argan oil.

for the clients while maintaining the value of the products.

The beard balms, however, are still new in the market

To add to that, being a small business has its challenges

given that they were launched a month ago after she

too. Financial restraints pose the main challenge that

received multiple requests from male clients who felt left

small businesses face, for example, they need funds for

out from the clientele list. Most of her supplies are sourced

branding, marketing among others.

from Amalia Nutritive Supplies, a one-stop health shop that supplies natural products that are specifically tailored for nutritional value, mostly for consumption. LIVE GREEN | Issue 15


Kenya Climate Innovation Center | A healthy solution to owning your glow | By Vivian Kwame

14

Dipsea care naturals started as a passion and interest. I have sensitive skin and while looking for a healthier solution, I decided to enrol for soap making classes," she says.

Luckily, the market response has been good. "The market

As for future plans, Grace is looking into having branches

response was average when we started, given the fact that

all over Kenya and Africa at large. She is also looking into

I had a specific target audience in mind. Though on the

expanding her product range and introducing a grooming

good side my sales have been consistent from when we

package for her male clients, something she believes

started," says Grace.

would be a win for her and her business.

As a member of the AgriBiz program which is run by the

Her clients can access her products in Sawa Mall located

Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) and fully funded

in Nairobi. She also recently partnered with Kipusa Beauty

by the European Union (EU) and Danida, Grace notes that

as her stockist for her products which are now available in

the membership has been very beneficial to her business.

their three outlets in Westfield Mall - Gitanga road, Heri Plaza - Karen and Buffalo Mall in Naivasha.

"There has been a notable difference in my business in terms of financial management and business planning

Clients can also access our products via her Instagram

which has been the highlight of the membership. It is

page at dipsea_care.

important to have a business plan because it gives you a sense of where you want to be. The mentorship program by AgriBiz has also been very beneficial to me," she adds.

LIVE GREEN | Issue 15



Kenya Climate Innovation Center | Integrating SMEs into Global Value Chains | By Arnold Muthanga

16

DIGITAL DIVIDENDS! INTEGRATING SMES INTO GLOBAL VALUE CHAINS THROUGH PRECISION AGRICULTURE. estern farming is laden with swathes of industrial-scale farms that are mostly monocultures. The 'megafarms' occupy vast farming lands and are currently beneficiaries of

and unevenly distributed. Small scale farmers in Africa as well as those in Kenya, are bound with notable setbacks that limit their active command in the global value chains. Among them is the lack of necessary production inputs,

lucrative government subsidies and intense policy

insufficient quantity, inferior food produce quality, stricter

lobbying. Ensue, in Europe and America, is the digital

cross-border regulations and changing consumer

revolution that is in full swing with Blockchain, Internet of

demands such as green consumerism. Further down the

Things, Artificial Intelligence and Immense Reality that has

agri-food production hierarchy, farmers lament expensive

facilitated extensive adoption of sophisticated agricultural

in-person information, irregular contact with field

technologies.

extension officers, general lack of customized advice and the absence of real-time feedback.

Au contraire, farming in developing countries is done by small scale farmers mostly on two hectares of cropland

Emerging mobile-based applications present themselves

that are dependent on family members for labor. Overall,

as a pathway to improving smallholder farmers' access to

farming in developing countries is characteristic of a low

information, inputs, market, finance and training. Mobile

asset base with typical low access to resources; Capital,

proliferation (70% of the poorest 20% in developing

labor and technology.

countries have access to mobile phones) means that farmers can be targeted to enhance communication

As a result of the 'resource divide', developed countries'

through the acquisition of information on the market,

farm produce is likely to dominate the global value

weather, consumers and enable connecting with relevant

chains. Change to As a result of the 'resource divide',

agencies.

developed countries' farm produce is likely to dominate the global value chains. We all concede that digital

By adopting mobile technologies, developing countries

technologies have boosted growth, created opportunities

have the advantage of leveraging the opportunity to

and improved service delivery across all sectors.

leapfrog from old farming practices into models that are

In aggregate, the impacts of technology among small

highly optimized, individualized, intelligent and

scale farmers in developing countries have been lagged

anticipatory.

LIVE GREEN | Issue 15


Kenya Climate Innovation Center | Integrating SMEs into Global Value Chains | By Arnold Muthanga

17

Overall, farming in developing countries is characteristic of a low asset base with typical low access to resources; capital, labor, and technology.

The underpinning hypothesis is that digitalization will incentivize smallholder farmers to structure their production, marketing and distribution activities to international standards. This is by increasing farm productivity, enhancing inclusivity, promoting cost efficiency through the decreased use of water, fertilizer and pesticides. Besides, digitalization of the agri-food sector promises environmental benefits through the optimized use of resources that are vital in enhancing climate change adaptation and food system resiliency. This is amidst dwindling access to natural resources such as the increasingly constrained availability of fresh water and productive arable land. The benefits of agricultural digitalization are ecstatic. It however would be inept to conclude that digital innovations and technologies will wholly address the challenges of small-scale farmers in developing countries. They form part of an array of solutions. Related laws, regulations, policies, international trade agreements, social norms and public goods are critical dynamics in both the production and access to international markets.

LIVE GREEN | Issue 15


OPEN OPPORTUNITIES 01 Seed and early-stage grants for women's organisations and initiatives.

Spark is seeking for applications to provide seed, early-stage grants to grassroots women organisations and initiatives working to advance gender equality and the rights of women in their communities and globally. Click below for more information and to apply; https://www.advance-africa.com/Seed-and-Early-stage-Grants-for-Womens-Organizations -and-Initiatives.html. Deadline: 1st March 2021

02

Grofin grants and funding for small and growing businesses in africa.

Grofin is seeking for applications for its it's small and growing businesses fund. Grofin is a pioneering development financier specializing in financing small and growing businesses across Africa and the Middle east. Click below for more information and to apply; https://www.advance-africa.com/GroFin-Grants-and-Funding-for-Small-and-GrowingBusinesses-in-Africa.html. Applications are accepted all year round.

03

Africa digital rights fund grants.

The Collaboration Of The International Ict For East And Southern Africa (CIPESA) is inviting applications for africa digital rights fund to offer rapid and flexible response grants to select initiatives in africa to implement activities that advanced digital rights. Click below for more information and to apply; https://www.advance-africa.com/Africa-Digital-Rights-Fund-Grants.html.

04

Africa Women Development Fund Grants.

African Women Development Fund (AWDF) is an institutional capacity building and programme development fund, which aims at to help build a culture of learning and partnership within the african women's movement. Click below for more information and to apply; https://www.advance-africa.com/African-Women-Development-Fund.html.


Kenya Climate Innovation Center | Youth unemployment in Africa | By Pamela Okutoyi

19

DENTING YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT IN AFRICA BY IMPROVING MARKET ACCESS FOR SMALL FARMERS n the minds of many African youths, a farmer is

Through their enterprise, Youth in Business Africa, a

someone like their parents, doing backbreaking labor

network of youth entrepreneurs, the two have developed

in the fields and getting little to show for it. Nonetheless,

the world’s only virtual assistant that enables agro

agriculture is the engine driving many African economies.

entrepreneurs access markets, investors and financial

If it was to get the same financial investment as the mining

opportunities.

sector, agriculture would provide more decent jobs and a sustainable chain of food production.

“Previously, we both owned businesses but the challenges we faced as young entrepreneurs were overwhelming. We

With this in mind, two young entrepreneurs, Grace and

sought to find a solution and that is how Market Design

Tim set out on a journey to help fellow entrepreneurs excel

was birthed,” Tim explains.

in agribusiness. LIVE GREEN | Issue 15


Kenya Climate Innovation Center | Youth unemployment in Africa | By Pamela Okutoyi

20

“Market Design is a virtual assistant that provides young

With this model, the two entrepreneurs say that investors

entrepreneurs with access to over 5,000 reliable markets

will have an easier time channeling their funds to

and finance. This is combined with a unique formula for

enterprises with feasible products which are

personal development of the entrepreneur and

high in-demand.

organizational development of the enterprise. The goal is to make young entrepreneurs investor-ready with feasible

To cement its activities to promote youth employment in

products for local and international trade,” Tim says.

agribusiness, the enterprise runs a farm, Sifa Farm, located in the semi-arid Kajiado County. The farm

The platform, launched in 2019, has onboarded more

produces and sells affordable, fresh and quality

than 5,000 youth from across Africa with more than half

vegetables, herbs and fruits to provide nutrition, health

of them being in the agribusiness space. The platform, as

and well-being of the majority of urban consumers in

Grace explains, enables buyers of African commodities

Kajiado, Machakos and Nairobi counties as well as, a

both in Africa and the rest of the world meet certified

subset of the export market consumers.

producers. The government and relevant authorities are also able to create awareness of the necessary regulatory

The farm fully employs young women and men who are

processes for trade.

passionate about agribusiness and looking to start their own businesses in that line of work.

The platform, which was launched in 2019, has on boarded more than five thousand youth from across Africa with more than half in the agribusiness space. “With limited access to financing, markets and land, young people must be empowered with continuing support and investment in order to overcome these obstacles,” Tim says. “Directly involving them in the agricultural supply chain and enabling them to develop skills and knowledge is essential and central to the approach of our enterprise.” Since January 2019, more than 3,000 farmers and young smallholders have received training through this pioneering model. Five youth forums have taken place so far across East Africa, bringing youth members together for mentorship and peer-to-peer knowledge sharing.

LIVE GREEN | Issue 15


Kenya Climate Innovation Center | Youth unemployment in Africa | By Pamela Okutoyi

21

With limited access to financing, markets and land, young people mustbe empowered with continuing support and investment in order to overcome these obstacles, Tim says.

The value being provided by the model is helping consumers enjoy convenient access to fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs. In addition, we are offering agri-entrepreneurs a unique platform to access reliable markets, investments and finance. By appealing to the technical strengths and economic ambitions of younger people, this platform allows them to build local agricultural knowledge, learn from older farmers and ultimately carry their legacy into the next generation. Nevertheless, by spreading the use of these digital tools, it provides opportunities to access new forms of financing and reliable markets for their products.

LIVE GREEN | Issue 15



Kenya Climate Innovation Center | How to make millions from horticulture farming | By KCIC Consulting Team

25

HOW TO MAKE MILLIONS FROM HORTICULTURE FARMING ilian Ngila is an open field horticultural farmer trading

She however says the journey was not easy. Before crafting

in cabbage, tomato and onion farming which she farms

the art of farming profitably, she used to incur losses.

and sells locally with plans of expanding regionally

“Before I perfected the art of farming tomatoes, onions

through the support of Kenya Climate Innovation Center

and cabbages profitably, I used to incur great losses at the

(KCIC). She started out with a grocery store after giving up

market.

a 10-year career in Business Management to jump full time into farming. The store however, was not doing so

I could harvest my produce and hustle through the heat of

well due to lack of enough produce specifically onions,

the day trying to get a buyer. At the end of the day, I could

tomatoes and cabbages.

return home with an empty pocket and no produce to sell the next day,” Lilian explains.

“I saw a gap, and decided to fill it,” Lilian says. “In early 2019, I started Riara Ridge Green Acres Limited, a

After observing the market trends for some time, Lilian

small-scale farming enterprise specializing in production

discovered that to reap maximum benefits, she had to

of onions, tomatoes and cabbages, on a one-acre land.

embrace best practices. “To thrive, crops first need to be

Along the way, I have been leased a twenty-five-acre piece

treated well. I made sure I got the right seedlings which

of land which I currently farm on.”

are costlier,” she says.

When she talks about the returns from her farm, you can

“I bought hybrid seedlings which offer better disease

easily get carried away as she explains how she made her

resistance, higher yield and possess other improved traits.

first million from the farm despite having worked for over

In addition, I invested in drip irrigation rather than

ten years. She has a rider though, “Farming is not for the

overhead irrigation to ensure all the crops are well

faint-hearted; Horticultural crops require timely planning

watered and water is not allowed to collect around the

and months of hard work to get quality products.”

plant as it can lead to rotting.”

When she started, her target was to produce

A total of four workers, who all are youth, tend to the

market–quality products. To achieve this, she had to do

crops weekly, to ensure they are growing under the right

everything right, from preparation of the land, to spraying

conditions. To reduce post-harvest losses, Lilian has a

and harvesting.

policy, “I sell all my produce at the farm.”

LIVE GREEN | Issue 15


Kenya Climate Innovation Center | How to make millions from horticulture farming | By KCIC Consulting Team

26

To thrive, crops first need to be treated well. I made sure I got the right seedlings which are costlier

Lilian says she does not harvest her produce until she has a buyer, a trick that has worked for her and reduced her expenses and market losses. Once she gets a buyer, they visit the farm, negotiate the price and set a date when to harvest. “I only harvest when I have a buyer to avoid incurring extra expenses and losses. I avoid middlemen by all costs and deal directly with market vendors,” Lilian explains. Having walked the journey, Lilian has plenty of lessons for upcoming farmers: she advises farmers to stop burning their fingers and instead embrace these tips for maximum profit gains; Do not harvest until you have a buyer Farm at the minimal cost to get the best that you can Negotiate twice, do not beg Start small and be patient Although the enterprise is doing quite well, Lilian says that she has encountered financial challenges which she hopes that the partnership with KCIC will help stabilize. “I am grateful for the partnership with KCIC as it is very timely. I hope that it will boost me in setting up an irrigation scheme and a seed propagation unit that will help cut our costs and also help small farmers around here get access to quality seeds,” Lilian explains.

LIVE GREEN | Issue 15



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.

KENYA CLIMATE INNOVATION CENTER


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