Validating Concepts | Growing Beneficial Business
Healthy Green Choice about validating the business case for a new agricultural value chain that places the protection of biodiversity, food safety and the market at the core. Our marketplace is based on compliance with transparent and internationally recognised criteria of environmental, social and economic sustainability. Cooperation and coordination on projects with committed partners across the chain are crucial to growing this market.
Why is compliance important to develop sustainable food safety in Kenya?
Compliance is the foundation of this model. Compliance is defined as the act of obeying an order, rule, or request. Compliance is not only important to develop sustainable food safety, it is absolutely necessary. Whilst Kenya has stringent measures on complying with international standards and market requirements, a lot remains to be done on the domestic market. Horticultural produce is prone to pesticide residue, heavy metal and microbial contamination.
Smallholder producers in Kenya account for around 75% of the total agricultural production, including fresh fruits and vegetables. The vast majority of these smallholder producers are not producing in compliance with minimum food safety requirements, due to capacity gaps and disincentives to comply. The majority of supply is still highly informal and non-transparent, lacking traceability and food safety requirements.
How can compliance help businesses?
Consumer awareness of the shortcomings of the food safety crisis in Kenya is on the rise. Consumers are increasingly demanding safer food and are willing to pay a premium for this. Compliance improves the competitive position and access to domestic and export markets. Furthermore, compliance with international and domestic standards can also boost the environmental sustainability of your business improving the triple bottom line. We help suppliers develop strategies to produce in biodiverse production systems instead of monoculture plantations.
What does compliance got to do with Food Safety?
Everything. We believe that cultivation can go hand in hand with rich biodiversity. Healthy Green Choice is about responsible trade that goes the extra mile. In essence, it is about BioTrade. BioTrade is defined as products which are collected, produced, transformed and commercialised under transparent criteria of environmental, social and economic sustainability which enriches or maintains biodiversity.
The goal is to improve producers’ competitive position through compliance with compulsory and voluntary certification standards, including:
- Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP)
- Global GAP (Incl. 1758 standard)
- Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)
- ISO 22000 – a certified system for Food Safety
- EU- organic
- Fair principles
Through placing these criteria at the core of the marketplace, HGC will promote products that protect forest ecosystems and restore degraded lands. This is in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreements that aims to ensure that global temperature rises do not exceed the 2˚C mark.
Why should yo test your soil? – Smallholder farmer’s perspective
Mr Paul Bett Shangai is a smallholder farmer from Uasin Gishu County. He mainly produces maize in his 20-acre piece of land. He has been farming for the last 20 years and in the last 10 years, he noticed a decline in yield and performance of his maize crop. After attending a soil testing training at Tarakwo Dairy Cooperative, he had his soil tested and he found out that the poor performance of his crop was because of low PH.
Due to financial constraints, he only tested half of his field. However, he also applied the recommendations as instructed by the Soilcares report. He observed the difference between the area he had applied the changes and where not. His advice to fellow farmers is, “to always test the soil before planting and implement the soil correction plan” for increased crop production.
How can soil testing be done?
SoilCares Foundation has developed a number of specific training sessions to build the capacity of the local stakeholders and to assist them in sharing the information with farmers. Each training is modular and can be adjusted to local needs and conditions and combines theory, practical assignments, group work and reflections.
An example of a booklet can be downloaded here. Other booklets, high-quality documents and customisation are available upon request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What does soil testing got to do with Food Safety?
Fertile soil is the foundation of agriculture. Clean and nutritious soils mean safe and healthy choices of fruits and vegetables. Soil should contain appropriate amounts of nutrients, organic matter, moisture and pH to ensure optimal plant growth and quality. Optimal soil conditions are influenced by a multitude of variables including soil type, drainage, climate and the selected plants being grown.
Keeping soil conditions optimum for good yields is a challenge. Small-scale farmers often lack tools and knowledge to provide them with this vital information that can help them understand and manage their soils in a responsible way. The risks of this mean that farmers are blindly using chemicals and fertilizers excessively. It is crucial to the sustainability of the soil and the safety of the produce that fertilizers and chemical agents be applied sparingly, in accordance with the needs of the particular plant species and supporting capacity of the soil. In other words, their ability to comply with the specific requirements is fundamental. It is also the starting place of ensuring food safety.
Why is it important to include youth in agricultural innovation?
Green Rhino and its partners are committed to supporting the sustainable development goals, including the promotion of sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
Employment and job creation remain a challenge across Africa, and Kenya is no exception. Kenya has a large and growing young population. Presently, the youth (18-35 years) make up 35% of the total population in Kenya and almost 3/4 of these are unemployed and 61% of youth live in rural areas.
How will youth be able to play a role?
This initiative will focus on the formulation of creating youth-led enterprises and employment through responsible agribusiness.
What is the link between youth and food safety?
This initiative is looking into different ways of encouraging innovation uptake to boost supply and uptake of safe food. The youth are a very interesting demographic because they are often more open to new ideas and practices.
Furthermore, through the introduction of the compliance-based platform that emphasises professional agriculture to meet these standards, youth will be motivated to look at agriculture differently too. Through the introduction of new technology and high standards, agriculture will bring with us a sort of standard of excellence, making it something to aspire to and make a career in.
The majority of youth think of farming as a means of ‘last resort’ or something that people only do when all else has failed. The high urbanization rate is a sign of this, as youth are more attracted to other types of jobs such as in the services and ICT sector. Through addressing food safety and bringing elements of traceability, certification and quality agriculture will be made ‘sexy’again, and trigger more youth to join.
Why is rural finance important to develop business?
Rural small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the engines of emerging markets. However, many rural SMEs face difficulties gaining access to financial services such as credit, trade finance and insurance from conventional banks. As a result, they struggle to find the right financial solution to reach the ambitions of their business plan.
Green Rhino closes this gap by helping SMEs design, connect and build demand-driven financial solutions that match local market realities, specific clients’ circumstances and investors’ expectations.
How can rural finance solution help your business?
Green Rhino and its partners design innovative and inclusive finance opportunities to make smallholder farmers and SME’s ready for successful entry into regional or international markets. We aim to improve the quality and sustainability of product sourcing, processing and export. To support these improvements, we design financial solutions, establish partnerships and develop tools to support the entire value chain. We tailor our services to your demand, targeting and linking to financial service providers, donors, business support organisations and (private) investors.
What is the link between Rural finance and improved food safety?
Access to improved finance that matches smallholder farmers and SME’s needs is important. However improved access to finance and inputs is not enough to ensure higher income for smallholder farmers in the fresh fruits and vegetables (FFV’s) market. Why? Because as long as the market does not trust these producers and their products, they are unable to sell for a good price or add value to their products. These low returns on investment discourage smallholder producers from professionalizing and wanting to invest in their agribusiness. This means that these companies remain small keeping financial institutions reluctant to invest in them.
Through investing in the improved safety of their products and delivering these products through our food safety value chains, SME’s and smallholders are able to gain access to a more sustainable market, and hence also gain more access to various financing opportunities and options.
Why is distribution important to develop business?
How can distribution solutions be found?
What has distribution got to do with food safety?
Why is market access important to develop business?
Finding the right market channel and partner is the last mile to success for any business. Solid partnerships increase competitiveness and allow companies to develop their products and services. However, this can be quite challenging when attempting to develop a chain based on compliance. Market access challenges include hesitance from buyers to go into business with smallholder farmers due to a lack of traceability and quality assurance. Simultaneously smallholder farmers find it costly, difficult and unclear to record in accordance with compliance protocol and are not aware of the exact buyer requirements.
How can Green Rhino’s market access solution help boost food safety?
In order to create sustainable market access for safely produced products, the entire value-chain will have to work together in this consortium. This will enable the flow of information from consumers to farmers and vice-versa to run more smoothly and transparently. Together with its partners, Green Rhino will operate as a match-maker across the entire chain to establish a conducive environment to develop, test and scale-up features such as traceability and improved market information along the chain.
At the centre of this conducive environment is an innovative way to establish a sustained line of quality control: trust; not as an alternative to certification but as a shortcut. It follows and is based on the blockchain approach where trust is granted as long as it is lived up to. If the trust is broken, the wrong-doer and his produce can be identified and removed from the chain, thus opening the way for new entrants. This approach, popularized by the Bitcoin movement, by now has evolved into a quite elaborate system of ‘self-management’ that considerably reduces dependence on the third party arbiter in the form of a rating or certification agency. It promotes the importance of trust based on reputation rather than certification. It also allows consumers, retailers, traders, suppliers, producers and even te local community to take an active position. They are encouraged and motivated to guarantee their own role in the chain as it is in their best interest to remain an active participant in this chain.
What market access products does Green Rhino Offer?
Next to collaborating with partners to create safe-chains, Green Rhino will develop a marketplace that will only showcase foods that meet the requirements of these safe chains. In other words, only chains that have shown to operate in compliance with the relevant standards will be able to sell on this platform. This market place will be the centre portal for retailers and farmers alike to promote their safe food, growing the market for safe food and promoting investments into food safety.