Solidaridad East and Central Africa

Unsettled conditions

Recent climate conditions have helped to increase production of several commodities, although prices have dropped, especially in the case of tea.

Achievements and partnerships:

  • Solidaridad is reaching thousands farmers through farmer support projects in East Africa.
  • The extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act initiative has opened up new economic opportunities.
  • Solidaridad launched the Food security project FOSEK in Kenya and Ethiopia, targeting more than 100,000 farmers.
  • Resource centres have been established in Tanzania to integrate management information systems (MIS) for sugarcane farmers.

Coffee: Change from the ground up

An impact study commissioned by Solidaridad and published by CIDIN concluded that certification alone cannot lift farmers out of poverty. The five-year research project found that farmers’ productivity and livelihoods improved through training, joining co-operatives and growing for local markets. However, certification remains a useful tool for supporting sustainable production.

Private coffee companies in Kenya and Tanzania are having to contend with new marketing policies in their countries.

Achievements and partnerships:

  • Solidaridad is working with Nestle and other partners, including exporters, a research institute and producer organizations, on a food security programme for the coffee industry in East Africa.
  • Our work in Kenya has enabled young people to lease land from poorly maintained coffee farms and receive training in good agricultural practices. They have also offered services such as spraying and pruning to neighouring farmers.
  • Memorandums of understanding have been agreed upon to allow independent producers in Kenya to obtain credit ratings, giving them better access to bank finance.
  • Solidaridad has agreed with the Centre for Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) to provide coaching for small and medium-sized enterprises in Kenya.
  • We are continuing to focus on sustainable coffee farms with financial support from Irish Aid through IFTN.

Cotton: Tightly stitched connections

Solidaridad has long promoted an integrated approach to the supply chain, gaining valuable insights into how brands and retailers source their stocks while collaborating closely with suppliers and establishing connections.

Achievements and partnerships:

  • The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) has reached thousands of farmers and helped them increase productivity. A quarter of farmers in the scheme receive financial support from Boresha SACCO in Kerio Valley, Kenya.
  • Solidaridad’s programme in Mali won the BCI prize in 2013. The partnership with APROCA and CMDT used the stories of women farmers to explain how training in literacy, leadership and communication changed their lives.

Tea: A leading blend

The Kenyan Tea Development Authority (KTDA) model has long been seen as the only successful way to address smallholders’ sustainability issues. Attempts to replicate it in Asia have been less successful, primarily because the domestic market is the main buyer.

Achievements and partnerships:

  • Solidaridad has helped smallholders attached to Kenyan Tea Development Authority (KTDA) tea factories to mitigate the effects of climate change.
  • The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), which funds the Trustea programme in India, is being implemented in East Africa through the KTDA and EATTA.
  • Through the Ethical Tea Partnership, a handbook was written to help improve the role of women in tea production.
  • Contact Information

    Karugu Macharia

    Managing Director, Solidaridad East & Central Africa

    P.O. Box 42234-00100, GPO Kirichwa Road, Kilimani Business Centre, Nairobi, Kenya