Solidaridad, Dutch government and Nestlé launch major food security programme in East Africa

Solidaridad, together with farmer organisations in East Africa, the Kenyan coffee research institute and companies including Nestlé, is launching a 9.2 million Euro budget development programme; with the focus on food security through improved resilience of small-scale farmers in Ethiopia and Kenya.

The aim of the programme is to improve farmers’ food security and resilience by combining coffee as a cash crop, with intercropping of a selection of food crops for farmers’ own consumption and local markets. The increase in coffee and food production by 120,000 smallholders in East Africa will have a profound impact on the region.

About 50 per cent of the funds for the programme will be from consortium partners, who seek to make a positive impact on poverty alleviation and sustainable economic growth in the region. The programme is developed in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands, that is providing the other 50% of the funding.

Karugu Macharia, Director of Solidaridad East Africa explains that cooperation between farmers, governments and the private sector is key in Solidaridad’s strategy. “This programme ensures benefits for all stakeholders including better food security and income for farmers, sustainable economic growth and the availability of better coffee.” Solidaridad will provide farmers with practical solutions and viable business models, to enable them to improve their coffee and food production, the storage, distribution and to reduce post-harvest losses.

Impact and programme locations

The improved livelihoods of 120,000 small-scale coffee farmers (of which 24,000 are women) and over 800,000 household members are expected as a result of better access to food and higher income generated through increased food and coffee production. Coffee farmersare expected to increase their income with 30% which will be generated from a more stable basis.

Duncan Pollard, Stakeholders Engagement in Sustainability for Nestlé says; “Nestlé believes that the long term success of the company can be assured if value is jointly created for the Company and society. This project is unique, because we improve our coffee supply basis and contribute to improved food security at the same time. The cooperation with Solidaridad is crucial because they share our vision that the private sector has a key role to play in sustainable development while they have the experience and the network to make this project a success.”

Other valued partners in the programme are traders ECOM and C. Dorman and marketing agents  Sustainable Management Services and Coffee Management Services. In Kenya the programme will target nine different cooperatives, including 32 wet mills around the main coffee areas in the Central Province district and Eastern Kenya; Kiambu district, Meru region, Karatina, Kirinyaga, Muranga and Embu districts.

The major coffee producing regions in Ethiopia, Oromiaand the Southern region are included in the programme. In each region, primary cooperative societies affiliated to Oromia, Yirgacheffe and Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Unions will be targeted.