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Sourcing premium coconut products from smallholder farmers

  • Company
  • Agriculture
  • East Africa
  • 2019
  • Active

The challenge

Despite the 9.9 million coconut trees on its coast and an increase in demand, Kenya’s local coconut industry remains largely undeveloped, with less than 5 percent of its coconuts processed into products. Instead, Kenya’s over 100,000 coastal coconut farmers sell their coconuts raw at local markets or to small-scale artisanal processors. Facing hardships such as unreliable rainfall, poor soil conditions, increased pests, few buyers and limited employment alternatives, these coconut farmers struggle to earn a living.

The innovation

Kentaste creates products such as coconut oil, milk, cream and flakes that are sold in more than 300 grocery stores across the region. The largest buyer on the Kenyan coast, Kentaste purchases coconuts from nearly 2,000 farmers at consistently high volumes and fixed prices—ensuring that, no matter how the global market’s coconut prices fluctuate, its farmers will always make the same steady income for what they produce. To save farmers significant labor expenses and maximize their profits, Kentaste’s staff harvest the coconuts and transport them to its processing facilities on the coast where nearly 100 locally-hired staff produce and distribute the premium Kentaste products.

The impact

Kentaste has increased coconut farmers’ revenue by as much as 120 percent.