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Connecting small-scale Kenyan farmers to the retail market

27.01.2015  09:07

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Farmers on the field in the Kilomo Biashara project 

As part of a common focus on “ethical trade” and an underlying consumer demand for more responsible products, the Danish Consumers’ Cooperative COOP decided  to increase its trade with African products as well as invest in the development of selected value chains. The product line is known as Savannah consists of various kinds of goods, among those organic yogurt with fruits from Uganda, dark chocolate with chocolate beans from Ghana and avocado oil from Kenya.

The Kenyan company Sunripe ltd. a primary African supplier of fresh, exotic vegetables to COOP, was, like other Kenyan fruit and vegetable companies, experiencing bottlenecks and various instability issues. As a result COOP launched a pilot business partnership project in Kenya with the aim to address gaps in selected value chains for greater returns on investment for Sunripe, Coop and small-scale farmers. With the financial support from DANIDA and the on ground training carried out by Care a viable project was launched.

The project should secure the deliveries and quality by farmers. Especially the farmers were facing challenges within produce rejection, perceived poor prices for produce, access to transport and difficulties in accessing affordable and timely input and capital.

After 3 years the DANIDA supported project is still running and the farmers have improved agronomic practices, improved crop yields per kilograms of seed and thereby improved household income. The diversification of crops has resulted in improved livelihoods. Working in groups enabled the farmers to meet the quotas agreed with Sunripe. Through training, the farmers practice more safe and effective use of chemicals, soil conservation, tree planting, crop rotation, proper harvesting and post-harvest handling techniques, among others. Through group savings and loans, the farmers have improved access to credits and have increased disposable income; they are now able to purchase farm inputs on time to protect their crops from damage by pests and disease. The farmers have created employment and agro business related jobs in the communities.