Over 3,500 smallholder farmers, at least 10 active smallholder groups, and more than seven out-growers are getting links to the global avocadoes supply chain markets thanks to Kakuzi.
Kakuzi Hills Self-Help Group from Machakos County are making sweet returns from their honey farming project while other smallholders have benefited from the distribution of over 2,000 quality macadamia seedlings.
Kakuzi has stepped up community service engagement by ramping up the supply of Covid-19 mitigation products and equipment to community and schools, provision of healthcare infrastructure, menstrual health products as well as championing sexual harassment awareness reporting and prevention.
The community living around the fruit exporter is also benefiting from efforts by the company to produce ethical fruits where those engaged through the firm’s supply chain have their human rights respected and have access to various programmes for improving their livelihoods.
Read also: Meals, drinks riding businesses to profits
Take smallholder growers, for instance, which Kakuzi is helping them to upscale their operations while boosting the global positioning of Kenyan avocados.
The international fruit market has a very stringent regime of standards for avocado fruits, and access to foreign markets is limited by the ability to harvest, store and transport the perishable product at scale.
An avocado tree takes about three years on average to start producing fruits, and demands regulated fertilizer management, pest and disease control programmes to optimum production.
Once mature, the fruit needs sterilized harvesting, packaging, and storage in the cold chain system within 24 hours of harvest to ensure the quality of the fruit is maintained.
Kakuzi’s farmer outreach programme provides the small-scale avocado growers with access to best practices in trade besides access to the international market for their fruits.
At the moment, the programme has attracted farmers not only from Kakuzi’s neighbouring community but also from other distant counties.
The smallholder farmer engagement programme is part of Kakuzi’s undertaking as a responsible corporate citizen in Kenya.
The programme ensures continued education for the community and farmers on the latest avocado production technologies and best management practices.
It helps farmers to access fruit production and management information, thereby increasing their yields and in turn driving wealth creation.
“Our main aim is to enable local farmers to access the international market and also be able to grow their fruits in a way that meets international standards,” says Mr Laban Mwaura, the Extension Officer at Kakuzi Horticulture Department.
The programme also helps tackle the challenges facing smallholder farmers as it has integrated them into the Kakuzi avocado business ecosystem.
The goal of the programme is to economically empower the farmers by improving their industry knowledge and income levels, too.