Over the years, 2SCALE has been working in partnership with Equatorial Nut Processors Ltd (ENP) to improve and increase soybean production in Western Kenya. Through the Business Support Service provider, Anglican Development Services Western (ADS-W), the partnership has built the local production capacities of smallholder farmers, catering to the soybean demand in the Kenyan market.
The adoption of soybean farming by more farmers meant an increase in production. The farmers, however, lacked the necessary knowledge and efficient grain storage equipment to cater for the increase. This brought about the need for increased storage capacity at the local level, to avoid post-harvest losses.
In 2020, AWRICO (Anglican Development Services Western Region Investment Company), an arm of ADS-W, took on this challenge by setting out to establish aggregation centres. AWRICO is an agribusiness company, established in 2017, that sells honey, amaranth flour, grains and seeds and promotes post-harvest technology such as hematic bags, and metal silos.
To set up AWRICO as a soybean aggregator, the first step was acquiring the necessary capital. ADS-W identified 2SCALE’s crowdfunding campaign - the first cohort- as the perfect opportunity to generate resources to advance their operations.
Leveraging the power of community
With one million Kenyan shillings ($ 8244) as their target, AWRICO had all hands on deck, using every avenue at their disposal to mobilize the funds.
Internally, they had a merry-go-round model involving all members of staff. Throughout the campaign, staff members were each given a day, to mobilize funds from their family and friends. They also approached various churches and organized sessions during their services- dubbed ‘ADS Week’- to tell the congregation about their initiative and request for funding. Additionally, they told farmers about the campaign and the benefits it presented to their farming activities and most of them were more than happy to contribute to the initiative.
In just 30 days, AWRICO had raised Ksh. 750,000 ($ 6180). The 2020 crowdfunding campaign had a matching fund. This meant that when the participant successfully raised a pre-set amount over a certain period, they would also be eligible for an additional matching fund from the 2SCALE program. Since they had hit their matching fund target of Ksh. 500,000 ($ 4120), 2SCALE topped up, bringing their total to Ksh. 1.2 million ($ 9889).
The crowdfunding campaign was an eye-opener. We never imagined we could raise as much as Ksh 1.2 million in such a short time, without taking a loan. It has been very beneficial and a great way of giving back to farmers.
Says John Ashitiva, Project Coordinator, ADS-W.
AWRICO becomes an aggregator
Two months after the campaign, AWRICO rented space for the aggregation centres in Busia and Kakamega. They had the spaces renovated and painted to ensure they were up to par. They then bought two digital weighing scales, two moisture meters for checking the moisture content of grains, tarpaulins for drying grains, and 20 grain storage pallets for each of the centres to keep the stored grains dry.
By 2021, the centres were ready to start operations and AWRICO bought 10 tonnes of soybean from farmer groups and smaller aggregators with the Ksh. 700,000 ($ 5768) balance.