In 2007, Paul Ogalo had a vision for his community, in Migori County. His vision entailed improving health and sanitation conditions, which he did through Center for Regeneration and Empowerment of Africa through Africa (CREATA), an NGO initially funded by KNVB, UNICEF, and Aqua for All. With the support he received he was able to renovate football fields and offer facilitation to young aspiring footballers in Primary schools. In addition, CREATA was able to build numerous toilets in primary schools in the area and improve on water and sanitation facilities.
As their activity progressed, there was a need for CREATA and its programs to be a self-sustaining entity. In 2017, Paul registered Kamida Enterprises Limited with the purpose of engaging in profitable activities that would support the activities of CREATA.
The largest cash crop has been sugarcane farming since the 70s. But with the collapse of Sony Sugar company the economic situation of many farmers and families has worsened. Paul therefore saw the need to introduce Sunflower farming as an alternative cash crop that can as well promote food security through its values chain.
Through this venture he has been able to work with close to 1,000 farmers. He does so with the assistance of intermediaries who he pays a commission to facilitate the interactions with the farmers. In addition, he employs part time labour to assist with the processing of the oils.
Paul states, “Due to societal norms, women are the primary sunflower farmers. The impact that they have in their homes and community as a whole, through their trade, is tremendous.”
Through the sale of Kamida Sunflower Oil, Paul says that he has managed to make sales worth KES 1,000,000 with 30% of proceeds going to CREATA. His future projections are to reach KES 100 million in sales in the next 5 years. He also hopes that the number of sunflower farmers will increase and hopefully work with close to 5000 farmers. He hopes that across the value chain more community members may benefit from gainful employment through the products he hopes to start soon, such as lotions and soaps made from sunflower oil. This he will be able to do with assistance from his new partners who came on board to inject more capital into the enterprise.
Other than providing a source of income to community members, the sunflower oil has more adverse benefits. The sunflower plant performs better than sugar cane which is also grown in the region. It requires no fertilizer and it is used to get rid of weeds like the infamous black jack. After processing the sunflower oil, the waste is used by local chicken farmers as feed. The feed is in high demand, with one farmer purchasing up to 10kgs daily.
Sunflower oil has great health benefits, it promotes heart health, it is good for hair and skin, it is an energy booster, strengthens your immune system and improves digestion. Paul says that many of his initial consumers came back to him with testimonies of how the sunflower oil has changed their lifestyle, including one woman who had hypertension and made weekly visits to the hospital. After a year of using Kamida sunflower oil, the woman claims that she is off medication and in addition to saving on hospital expenses, she has renewed energy.
Kamida Enterprises has been working with the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC), where he receives business advisory services, branding assistance, access to information and market intelligence.
“Working with KCIC has helped me put my affairs, more so my financial records in order. I am able to plan better for future activities. Coming from a background of NGO approach to development, KCIC has also helped me to reinforce the business mind into my approach as a social business entrepreneur. KCIC has given me a lot of support, especially during this Covid-19 period, in reassuring me that business will continue despite the current state of the economy,” concludes Paul.
By Michelle Mungata