Due to the impact of climate change, increasing population and smaller land sizes, smallholder farmers are finding it difficult to survive under the traditional livelihoods systems such as growing conventional crops. There is increasing incidences of poverty and malnutrition, negating decade’s old effort to eradicating these vices.
Eco Agribusiness Limited (EAL) is a social enterprise that strengthens the capacity of farmers around a unique value chain that has strong economic and climate change relevance. The company has chosen strawberries because of the crop’s ability to generate high returns within limited space and manageable water input. For example, a 1/4 of an acre of strawberry can generate Ksh 230,000 per annum, equivalent to more than 5 acres of maize. Strawberries requires 25mm of water per week under drip irrigation. The crop has ready market in the local processing facility managed by EAL. There is minimal wastage and farmers are able to sell 95% of what is produced.
To further efficiency in the value chain and improve farmer’s benefits, the company requires to increase cold storage space to ensure they purchase everything the farmer produces. It also intends to replace the use of conventional energy with renewable energy in the entire factory operations and increase the factory up-take of farmers produce through efficiency in processing, storage and marketing. This will allow the improvement of farm gate prices of strawberries by 20%.
To reduce the cost of operations, increase efficiency in the fruit value chain and maximize returns at farm level, EAL intends to purchase and install a sun cooler, a renewable energy facility that serves as cold storage and generates electricity to drive other machines in the factory. To do this, they require the support of individual/corporate donors to be able to purchase the equipment at the cost of Ksh 3,500,000 (Euro 35000). The factory will have adequate capacity to store the fruits and therefore purchase all the farmers produce. Due to the cost saved in the storage and processing we will be in a position to increase the prices of the fruit by 20% and assure every farmer of the market. This will stimulate the expansion of acreage of the fruit-on-farm to benefit more farmers.
Eco Africa Limited requires to raise the total cost to make its operations efficient through renewable energy. There are a number of benefits gained if one contributes. For contributions below Ksh 10,000 one receives one jar of 250gms; Ksh 10,000 – Ksh100,000 one gets 3 jars of 250gms each for 2 years sent at no extra cost. For contributions above Ksh 100,000 one is entitled to a one-day field and factory visit, 3 jars of 250gms each for 3 years sent at no extra cost.
You can join the Eco Agribusiness Limited fundraiser on M-Changa to support smallholder farmers improve their returns in strawberry growing.