- Learning Network
Challenges · Biodiversity · Climate Change · Food Security · Livelihoods · Livestock and Pasture · Water
Livestock, Maize, Wheat
The Mount Elgon region of northwestern Kenya is a critical watershed upstream of Lake Victoria that faces a variety of environmental and development challenges and opportunities. Local communities, primarily composed of smallholder farmers, engage in milk production and subsistence and cash crop cultivation, including maize and wheat production. A combination of deforestation and unsustainable agricultural and grazing practices has contributed to soil erosion and degradation and threatened local crop yields and downstream water supplies and ecosystems. Farmers often struggle to gain adequate access to markets and sustainable livelihoods. There is strong potential to improve human wellbeing while achieving improved environmental outcomes in the region.
I truly believe that innovation is what good businesses do best. They’re all about creating new sources of value. While NGOs and governments play an essential role in mitigating climate change and poverty reduction, they can’t possibly solve these complex problems alone; business innovation is essential. In my view, the challenges of sustainable agriculture can only be met if companies develop radically different approaches to business models. This is what the fund aims to achieve. Through innovative models and public/private partnerships we can not only end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture but also preserve our environment and its shrinking supply of natural resources.Bernard Giraud President & Senior Advisor, Sustainability and Shared Value Creation, Livelihoods Venture
Beginning in 2016, the Livelihoods Venture is collaborating with Brookside, a leading Kenyan dairy company, Vi Agroforestry, an implementing nonprofit, the Lake Victoria Basin Commission, and local producers to invest in sustainable rural development, reliable supply chains, and improved conservation and soil health in the region through 2025. This shared value model will seek to improve food security by providing technical assistance to farmers to increase yields by at least 30%, double farmers’ revenues to support sustainable livelihoods by connecting them to dairy supply chains, provide a greater and more secure supply of milk to Brookside, and protect both local species and the broader health of the Lake Victoria watershed. Activities will include soil conservation through improved agricultural practices and agroforestry over 20,000 hectares, sustainable grazing implementation, water use efficiency effort, and the production of 1 million carbon credits.
Project partners are engaging with 1200 farmers’ groups and 15 agricultural cooperatives to provide technical and other assistance to help smallholders improve their yields and livelihoods in sustainable ways. Half of the farmers targeted will be women to ensure they are represented and beneficiaries of the program. Brookside and the public sector provide support for Vi Agroforestry and Livelihoods Venture activities.
To learn more about the project, please visit the Livelihoods Venture website.