What we do

The main objectives of AGRODEV are:

  • To promote and encourage sustainable agricultural development, especially amongst industries in need
  • To encourage community development through sustainable agricultural practices
  • To bring transparency of international markets and trends directly to farmers
  • To educate rural farmers in the practices of organic production and fair trade
  • To establish local facilities with the ability to abide by international and country specific fair-trade/organic certification standards
Our projects are aimed at developing Kenya's agricultural industry at the community level with a sustainable focus. We have developed guidelines and teaching material for adding value to small landholders crops through the promotion of fair-trade and organic farming. We work towards tackling problems and challenges faced in rural farming communities.

PROBLEMS WE FACE

  • Over complex value chains and inefficient marketing structures in most sectors of agriculture
  • Difficulty in collecting data and industry information in closed and bureaucratic environment
  • Building a network in a divided, complex, and contradictory industrial environment
  • Lack of market industry information from governmental coordination institutions
  • Lack of transparency and accountability structures in the agricultural sector
  • Lack of trust and internal rivalries
  • Scattered nature of cooperative societies and farming communities
  • Poor rural infrastructure
  • Difficulties communicating industry trends with smallholders pertaining to fair trade, organic production, and issues of general sustainability
  • Difficulty of establishing credibility in an industry plagued by cronyism and opportunism, in the quest for financial gain

MAKING PROGRESS

The range of problems we have highlighted are addressed by facilitating the following project objectives:
  • Tracking agricultural products from the farm gate to the consumer
  • Educating and creating awareness of the benefits of fair trade and organic farming
  • Creating effective and efficient means of organizing small farmers
  • Creating accountability structures at the cooperative level
  • Creating better business practices at the cooperative level
  • Creating a forum for direct communication between producers and consumers
  • Encouraging the implementation of direct sales, also called the second window, in Kenya
  • Improving access to inputs and equipment necessary for sustainable growth and development
  • Creating more efficient finance structures to ensure that farmers are paid in a timely fashion and have access to reasonable capital to sustain growth

MAIN CHALLENGES ON THE ROAD TO SUSTAINABILITY

  • Complex value chains that does not accord a significant value to the farmer at the grassroots
  • Capital inadequacies have slowed the pace of adopting new technologies
  • Lack of contracts and/or long-term business relationships
  • Highly volatile international markets for primary agricultural produce, particularly coffee
  • Mishandling and a lack of producer incentives undermining quality and the possibility of adding value through origin branding
  • Lack of information and resources on the global market

MEASURING OUR SUCCESS (QUANTITATIVE)

  • Number of farmers that have indicated interest in fair-trade
  • Number of farmers that have indicated interest in organic growing
  • Percentage of production under value-added initiatives
  • Hectares under value-added initiatives
  • Percentage salary increase for smallholders
  • Number of agents in the value chain
  • Percentage of land currently under production that can support organic
  • Number of new positions created
  • Number of interested international buyers for new products
  • Percentage increase in agricultural yields
  • Percentage of stake in specialty market
  • Number of estates and cooperatives eligible for fair-trade certification
  • Percentage of anticipated market share in North America and Europe
  • Percentage of women involved
  • Percentage of people living on less that $1.00 US a day

MEASURING OUR SUCCESS (QUALITITATIVE)

  • Involvement of Kenyan government organizations such as: Coffee Board of Kenya (CBK), Coffee Research Foundation (CRF), and Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (KPCU)
  • Involvement of international donors
  • Involvement of co-operatives and estates
  • Involvement of exporting agents
  • Involvement of transnational corporations
  • Involvement of large-scale Kenyan and International businesses
  • Levels of community infrastructure
  • Proximity and accessibility of education for children
  • Health risks
  • Community food security
  • Household consumption trends
  • Knowledge and expertise in handling organic fertilizers
  • Enhanced knowledge of soil management
  • Enhanced knowledge of water management

WHAT OUR TEAM CAN ACHEIVE

We will work towards directly addressing the millennium development goals in the following ways:
  • By providing stability and transparency in a volatile international market. The development of niche markets such as fair trade offers the prospect of increasing farmer's wages by 80 to 747 percent. A sustainable increase in intercropping of subsistence crops will allow farmers to meet daily nutritional requirements without sacrificing the development of export crops.
  • By educating farmers on organic farming and actively promoting sustainable growing techniques we will develop a model of the prosperous and sustainable small farming community in Kenya. We will ensure safe drinking water by eliminating the use of synthetic fertilizers on the crop as well as ensuring proper management of fecal waste on site.
  • Through FLO certification in Fair Trade and Country Specific Fair Trade Certification we will guarantee democratically run, participatory, and transparent forum for small farmer organization, including women and other marginalized groups. We also adhere the International Labour Organization (ILO) code of employment and occupational health and safety.
  • Increase income within the agriculture sector
  • Increase yields and quality
  • Provide food security
  • Create rural employment
  • Promote sustainable farming
  • Encourage the organization of farmers to develop negotiating leverage
  • Develop infrastructure within the agriculture sector
Blake Hanacek and Rich Damianopoulos
Blake Hanacek and Rich Damianopoulos Co-Founders of AGRODEV with local Kirinyaga farmers