The Feed the Future East Africa Catalytic Sustainable Agribusiness Investment project (CSAI), funded by USAID and implemented by SNV, along with its partners Climate Focus and UNIQUE, participated in the ground-breaking 2018 Sankalp Africa forum, which was held in March 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya. One of the main sponsors of the event, CSAI is pioneering efforts in East Africa to support innovative, climate-smart technologies by building the capacity of fledgling local enterprises to attract private sector investment through customised business training, technical assistance, and strategic partnership through match-making.
Sankalp’s renowned global Summit, held in India annually, brings together stakeholders from around the world to discuss, debate, and create a roadmap for impact investment and inclusive business in development markets. The Forum expanded into Africa in 2013. Since its inception in 2009, this exciting Intellecap initiative has connected over 400 enterprises to investors and funders.
The theme of this year’s Sankalp Africa Summit, which attracted over 1,000 investors, incubators, and innovators from around the world, was “Open Alliances for a Sustainable and Inclusive Africa – 2030.” The two-day summit provided rare networking and growth opportunities, including pitch sessions, interactive workshops and panel discussions, exhibition spaces, and one-on-one speed-dating among the most promising enterprises and interested impact investors.
“Start-ups require a lot of support, both technical and financial,” said Caleb Wasilwa from Home Biogas Kenya, a local enterprise attending the forum. “Events like these provide exposure to potential investors, and an opportunity for product improvement through the insights given.”
Intellecap CoFounder and Chairman Vineet Rai (right) in one-on-one pitch session
Among the start-ups who attended this year’s Sankalp Africa Summit were several climate-smart agribusinesses supported by CSAI.
“The event provided ample opportunities for our enterprises to network with various investors,” said David Makongo, CSAI Project Manager. “We hope to capitalize on future events like Sankalp by even further increasing the networking and presentation capacities of the agribusinesses we work with.”
This year’s prestigious Sankalp Award, which recognises and rewards high impact enterprises in Africa, went to iNuka Pap, a mobile platform used by entities like Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisations (SACCOs) to provide their members with access to instant micro-loans. The first runner up was Kopa Gas, which designed the world's first Smart LPG Meter to promote clean cooking in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Mhogo Foods was awarded third place for its work with small scale farmers in producing gluten and grain free cassava flour.
BioFit Agritech, a CSAI-support enterprise, was also among the top 10 companies nominated for the Sankalp Award for its novel work in Kenya developing and testing low-cost livestock feed made from water hyacinth.
Learn more about the CSAI-supported enterprises that participated in this year’s Sankalp Forum:
BioFit Agritech was found by four researchers from the University of Nairobi in Kenya who are testing affordable livestock feed made from water hyacinth, an invasive species and environmental and economic threat to Lake Victoria. Using water hyacinth as a raw material for livestock feed solves two problems: it serves as a climate-resilient source of low‐cost livestock feed, and it reduces the population of this invasive weed.
Biogas International, based in Kenya, sells its patented FlexiTech biogas digesters that are simple and easy to install. The adoption of biogas by smallholder farmers both mitigates Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and reduces the use of firewood, which decreases deforestation and preserves the living trees that absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Lake View Fisheries
Lake View Fisheries is a vertically integrated, sustainable commercial tilapia farm in Homa Bay, along Lake Victoria in Kenya. Lake View operates a sustainable tilapia hatchery of land-based breeding and juvenile ponds, and off-shore floating fish cages in Lake Victoria. The company built Kenya’s most advanced vertically integrated tilapia cage farm, with a production capacity of 300 metric tons per year.
A woman-own business, Ruhamah Enterprises mills livestock feed, primarily for pig farming, which results in much lower GHG emissions per kg of meat when compared to beef and other sources. CSAI is assisting Ruhamah to incorporate a protein cake made from water hyacinth, an invasive weed posting an environmental and economic threat to Lave Victoria and Lake Naivasha in Kenya, to further reduce GHG emissions associated with swine production.
Mara Beef, a major beef company located among the Maasai communities in the Southern Rift Valley area of Kenya, has piloted holistic cattle grazing. CSAI is working with Mara Beef to integrate pastoralist communities into their business models, mitigating some of the vulnerability that these communities face during drought.
Founded in 2016, Lucsom will provide farmers with consistent access to low-cost and nutritionally balanced animal feed by commercialising biomass production from fodder trees such as Tagasaste and Leucaena. Lucsom operates in very dry, low-rainfall areas where these crops thrive. Biomass production will be on Lucsom’s own plantations, as well as sourced from out-growers.
Menagesha Biotech produces and distributes bio-fertilizer for major legume crops in Ethiopia to help both smallholder and commercial farmers replace chemical fertilizer with organic fertilizer, enabling them to improve soil fertility and increase their yields. Menagesha plans to run an outreach programme working with 300 venders and 100 young people.
Amba Private Limited Company (PLC) supplies table honey and conventional honey specifically for the export market through outsourcing and production in some of the most arid areas of northern Ethiopia. Amba aims to contribute to the overall improvement of apiculture and pulse production through the promotion of market-oriented agricultural activities.
DryGro is a UK-based agriculture technology company that has developed new ways to grow animal feed ingredients on arid, unproductive land. Using this technology, DryGro can grow feed ingredients for aquaculture, ruminants, and poultry at a lower cost than soy, fishmeal, and other traditional inputs. This technology can also grow on arid land using a fraction of the water of traditional agriculture, making it a valuable climate change mitigation tool.
Inuka Africa is a microcredit institution operating in Kenya. Since 2011, Inuka has focused on economically empowering micro-and-small-businesses, with a growing emphasis on farmers and agribusiness actors. Inuka has 34 branches spread throughout mainly agricultural counties in Kenya. It has established itself as a trusted micro lender in the dairy sector, an underserved market of about two million smallholder dairy farmers.
Century Microfinance Bank Ltd.
Century Microfinance Bank Limited specialises in providing financial services to micro-small-and-medium-enterprises, primarily in the agriculture sector. Century was incorporated in 2009 and licensed in 2012 as a deposit-taking microfinance institution in Kenya. The company is seeking to grow its loan book by 200% and reduce risk by 20% by the end of the first quarter of 2018.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy
Ol Pejeta Conservancy (OPC) is the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa, hosting close to 130 rhinos, and other flora and fauna species. OPC is structured as a non-profit organisation where profits are reinvested into Ol Pejeta’s mission, which is dedicated to wildlife conservation and community development. The conservancy is a pacesetter in the livestock industry owing to its business model that has created socio-economic impact for the neighbouring community over the years, protecting wildlife and the environment. OPC is committed to a commercial approach that secures space for conservation and stimulates economic development and empowerment among its neighbouring rural communities.