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M-SAWA project: Kwale coconuts

Canada in Kenya
Economic growth
June 19, 2018

John Mwangi is a smallholder farmer and resident of Kwale County. John grows coconuts and sells them to Kwale Coconut Processors Limited

Coconut oil. You can find it in supermarkets across North America, but have you ever wondered where it comes from?

In 2016, Kenya exported 1.3% of the world’s coconut oil. The majority (88%) of that was destined for the United States.

Kwale County in Kenya is a region known for its abundance of coconut palms, which thrive in the area’s highly nutritional soil and fresh air coming off the Indian Ocean.

Kwale Coconut Processors Limited (KCPL) is a certified fair trade organic producer of coconut oil. Based in Kenya, KCPL strives to “continuously develop and maintain a highly productive base of certified organic coconut farmers and a professional production facility.”.

Maendeleo Sawa

That is why MEDA has partnered with KCPL through the Maendeleo Sawa (M-SAWA) project. By providing matching grants to small and medium enterprises like KCPL, MEDA is able to support them in their economic growth and social impact. By partnering with KCPL, MEDA is supporting smallholder farmers along the supply chain.

KCPL has a supply base of over 1,500 experienced farmers trained in best agricultural practices.

Through MEDA’s partnership with the company, John is among the many farmers who have benefited from agronomic training. In the past six months, he has learned new farmer operating procedures and rules, organic farming practices, and mulching and crop management techniques. He has also learned how to effectively manage agricultural waste. With his increased knowledge, he has seen his average yield increase significantly.

“Once the coconut husks degrade, it forms a compost, helping improve nutrients in the soil,” said John. This improves water retention and enhances the quality of the nuts harvested.

Meet John

John looks forward to continuing his relationship with MEDA and KCPL. He values the partnership because it provides him with a more stable income than when he was working with independent buyers whose prices varied greatly throughout the year.

In the past, John earned an average of 8.0 KES (about $0.08) per nut. Since his partnership with KCPL, he sells his coconuts at a constant rate of 11.0 KES each, a 27% increase! He also earns a 1.0 KES premium for being a certified fair trade organic farmer.

With more than 80 coconut trees on his land, each producing 15-45 nuts four times a year, he can maintain a stable income to support his family. Furthermore, this will allow John to send his son, Mwangi Jr., to school.

“Investing in trusted, local companies is integral to a community’s economic success. When we partner with local businesses and trust their expertise, we create sustainable solutions and improve livelihoods for generations to come.”

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