Elias with a farmer


Author: Meg Kauthen, Sustainability Designer

It has been one year since Elias Kimaru joined Business for Development as the implementation manager of the Program for Expansion of the cooperative (PAVI) for Sustainable Independence, or as we like to call it Project PEPSI.

Elias is tasked with preparing and strengthening the board of the PAVI cooperative – a member owned, member-run and member-serving agribusiness – so they can eventually 100% manage the Kwale Agribusiness Program (KAP). PAVI (which stands for Pamba and Viazi cooperative) supports members for KAP to grow cotton for Cotton On Group, grow fruit and vegetables to improve economic and food security, manage production of stockfeed for local poultry and support poultry production for the Kwale market.

A major focus of Elias’ work has been on the cooperative’s governance structure, where B4D is looking to ensure the best local people are on the board to advance the cooperative’s economic, social and environmental objectives. A board election was held this financial year, and Elias worked to ensure the candidates were strong local farmers to represent the community. All board members were provided operational, financial and leadership training so they are skilled, confident board members enabling information and effective decisions steering PAVI to sustainable independence.

As a membership cooperative, PAVI’s profits are reliant on its ability to retain and secure new members whilst supporting them to increase farm productivity. To achieve this, PAVI has to conduct programs that appeal to the community. Our role is to support PAVI and its members in different operational aspects, which include:

  • assisting in ensuring the supply of quality inputs e.g., seeds, fertiliser and chemicals,
  • providing agronomic extension services so members’ agronomic knowledge is improved,
  • collecting all data in the field to safeguard the history of crops and demonstrate learning to enhance outcomes via data analysis,
  • connecting PAVI to the best buyers to complete the value chain, and
  • ensuring all members are paid on time for the sale of their commodities.

All these activities make PAVI a more attractive cooperative to the community who are interested in becoming members.

The PAVI cooperative is on the path to being a force for sustainable and inclusive development. And now, thanks to the guidance provided to the PAVI Board, staff and with the assistance of B4D, the cooperative is starting to be a profitable and independent entity that delivers superior services benefiting smallholder farmers in Kwale and beyond.

Design by HEARD Agency