Cassava enterprise wins Sh31million Nestlé global prize

Agro-Hub, an organization from that helps small scale farmers gain access to sustainable markets for their cassava is the winner of the 2016 Nestlé’s Creating Shared Value Prize.

The group won Sh31million in funding after beating 24 applicants from Kenya and over 420 others from 80 countries across the globe.

The organization has trained over 2000 farmers in South West Cameroon, impacting them with the spirit of entrepreneurship and strengthening their production and marketing skills,

The winners were awarded during the 7th Creating Shared Value Forum in Abidjan.

The forum brought together business, government leaders and civil society from Africa, Europe and beyond in the conference themed ‘Investing in sustainable development in Africa.’

“We are delighted that Nestlé has recognised the potential our project has in empowering the lives of smallholder farmers. The prize money will be vital to help us scale-up our operations to reach 5,000 farmers and help them to become commercial farmers,” said AtemErnessLefu, Co-founder and CEO of Agro-Hub.

Agro-Hub has built a small integrated factory where it helps turn harvested cassava into spaghetti, snacks, laundry starch, cooking flour among other products and sells them to its network of consumers through its own fresh food store. “We create an efficient value chain by training and supporting farmers with inputs and capital, and by organizing them into groups and clusters, under one cooperative. We also help the farmers sell to our network of consumers and through Agro-Hub’s fresh food store,” explained ErnessLefu.

Cassava is grown by nearly every farming family in Cameroon and around 90percent of cassava producers are rural poor women. Natural Extracts Industries (NEI) which is pioneering sustainable extraction of flavors in Tanzania was awarded Sh21million after emerging runners up in the same prize. NEI, which was founded in November 2011, has established a value chain for the marketing of natural flavor extracts from vanilla, cacao and orange, working with smallholder farmers on the Tanzanian side of Mount Kilimanjaro.

“Every two years up to three innovative schemes related to water, nutrition or rural developments are selected for the Nestlé Prize in Creating Shared Value (CSV). Creating Shared Value encourages businesses to create economic and social value simultaneously by focusing on the social issues that they are uniquely capable of addressing,” said Judy Mwangi, Corporate Communications Manager at Nestlé Equatorial Africa Region.

Through the Prize, Nestlé encourages and help innovative, commercially viable, and high-impact initiatives achieve scale and financial sustainability. Three Kenyan organizations and projects have been recognized for the Nestlé CSV Prize since its launch in 2009. Sanergy and Honey Care won in 2014 while African Sand Dam Foundation which promotes access to water in rural Machakos was the third runners up in 2012.

 

“The most important selection criterion is the strength of the business case and the demonstration of financial sustainability to ensure operational continuity after the grant expires,” said Ms. Mwangi.

Launched in 2009, the CSV Prize has the objective to encourage and reward innovative projects, inclusive businesses or social enterprises that address challenges in the areas of nutrition, water or rural development. Winning organisations share a total of over Sh50million in prize monies.

 

 

 

 

 

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