Kwale Agribusiness Program


Kwale, Kenya

Program Details

Products: Cotton, grain, pulses, and livestock including stock feed
Program Phase: Scale
Program Partners: Base Titanium, Cotton On Group, and Kwale County Government


Kwale Agribusiness Program (KAP) has been developed by Business for Development since 2014. The program’s goal is to elevate smallholder farming communities from subsistence farming to more commercially-oriented, and thus profitable, farming practices in the Kwale region of Kenya.

KAP is a collaboration between foundation partners Base Titanium Limited (BTL), a mineral sands producer located in Kwale County, and Cotton On Group (COG), Australia’s largest global retailer, as well as Kwale County Government and the Government of the Republic of Kenya.

The Approach

At the start of the program, Business for Development initiated trials of several crops including cotton, green grams, cowpeas, potatoes, and sorghum to identify which might provide a better return to the farmers. It was confirmed that cotton grew well in the region. However, cotton farmers found they still were unable to achieve any improvement in the returns from their farming efforts. They had to pay a government-regulated fee to cotton gins for processing their raw cotton. The cotton lint was returned to the farmers for sale. The cotton seed was processed downstream to extract cotton seed oil (a good quality cooking oil) and seed cake – a protein rich animal feedstock. As the cotton seed was commonly processed by others, the farmers were unable to gain any income from this valuable by-product.  Their returns were limited to the low prices paid for their raw cotton and what they could individually glean from selling the cotton lint.

The Challenge

Through re-configuration of the cotton value chain, Business for Development identified a symbiotic relationship with cotton, stock feed, and poultry production. Over time, the program built cotton production to commercial levels and the seed from the cotton went into the stock-feed  formulation.

To complement these two new industries, Business for Development reinvigorated the poultry meat and egg industry in Kwale. This was achieved through a combination of trialing breeds, training farmers in good husbandry practices, and building demand for the produce at both the village level and with local hotels and restaurants.

This integrated approach has provided farmers greater financial returns. The establishment of the poultry industry has changed lives through improved nutrition thanks to accessing to poultry and eggs. For more insight, please read our Chicken Changing Lives blog.

The Results

The KAP is helping BTL create a lasting positive impact on the community through its community development program and supporting COG with its sustainable sourcing strategy, with Kwale’s smallholder farmers becoming part of COG’s value chain.

Changing paradigms with scale is central to the design of the KAP model. When the program reaches its full scale, it has the potential to be a game changer for smallholder farmers across the whole of Kenya.

Improving farming practices and increasing vertical ownership of the value chain will lead to stronger economic outcomes for Kenyan farmers and their local communities. Between cotton and poultry, the program expects to reach 15,000 and 10,000 farmers, respectively. The multiplier effect upon local communities could benefit more than 200,000 people, providing greater income, new secondary industries, and the diversification of livestock.

The Republic of Kenya has the potential to significantly gain from the expansion of the KAP and Business for Development is committed to supporting this growth with support and advice.

Read the full case study on the Kwale Agribusiness Program.

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