Wanda Agriculture Ltd, a company that was started seven years ago and has been involved in the organic fertilizer business is set to launch a platform in February 2019 to connect at least 3,000 farmers to markets.
“So far we have connected 20,020 farmers to farm inputs but I have realized that the biggest challenge facing farmers is marketing of their produce, we are thus coming up with this platform called Wanda Soko in a bid to complete the whole value chain from production to marketing,” said Marion Moon, the founder and Managing Director of the company.
The process will involve identifying marketing agents/ farm consultants who will then form organized farmer groups to aggregate and market fruits and pulses.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, farmers can triple income by joining organized marketing systems that play an important role in supporting small agricultural producers and marginalized groups such as young people and women.
Cooperatives empower their members economically and socially and create sustainable rural employment through business models that are resilient to economic and environmental shocks.
Marion Moon, founder and Managing Director, Wanda Agriculture.
“This platform will help farmers have a more predictable return on investment on their investment through a more structured value chain process,” said Moon.
The company will contract farmers to plant only half of their available land so as to encourage diversification of crops.
If a farmer has four acres of land for example, the company will ask the farmers to plant fruits/pulses on two acres leaving the rest for other purposes such as dairy farming.
Moon says this will help farmers reduce on post-harvest losses which is a big challenge facing farmers in Kenya.
Since 2011, Wanda Agriculture has been helping farmers through access of organic fertilizer that complements inorganic fertilizer such as NPK and DAP.
The company sells a 50kg bag of organic fertilizer at Sh3,300. This type of fertilizer improves the soil structure and increases its ability to hold water and nutrients. According to the Organic Trade Association, organic fertilizer also increases species biodiversity by 30 per cent compared with synthetic fertilizer.
Wanda Agriculture, however, would like to improve farmers’ profitability through reliable market access besides linking farmers to inputs.
In 2017 for instance, Kenyan farmers lost 1.9m tonnes of food as they struggled to find markets according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
Of the total food wasted, maize, Kenya’s staple food was the most affected with the country losing Sh29.6bn worth of the crop yet it imported another bunch worth Sh42bn.
Green bananas were the second most affected crop as farmers lost Sh24bn worth of the produce.
Other produce that went to waste due to poor storage and handling, transport, and fungi attack, according to data contained in the 2018 Economic Survey released in April, includes Irish potatoes (Sh19.7bn), milk (Sh12.4bn), beans (Sh11.5bn), ripe yellow bananas (Sh5.6bn).
“The impact therefore will be to create a more sustainable value chain which will enable farmers have steady and consistent income as they focus on the effects of climate change,” said Moon.
The company can be reached on 020 43 43 600.