18 April 2019 was a great day for me. I made my first delivery of tomatoes to Kongoni Lodge in Naivasha. I have been practicing horticulture farming for the last seven years and the biggest challenge is market access. More than half of my harvest would go to waste while the rest would be sold at a throw-away price. I am happy that I will be supplying this hotel for the next six months.
Ms Zaineb Malicha, beneficiary of the SWITCH Africa Green GOALAN Project
Zaineb Malicha runs her horticulture business in the Lake Naivasha Basin where water is scarce. In a training provided by the EU’s SWITCH Africa Green GOALAN Project, the 46-year-old learnt sustainable farming practices including aspects on the maximum use of organic fertiliser, the use of certified seeds, the safe use of pesticides (integrated pest management), post-harvest handling, and harvesting rainwater.
GOALAN is short for Green Horticulture at Lake Naivasha in Kenya. The EU-supported SWITCH Africa Green project, implemented by WWF Kenya (lead organisation) and the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP), works towards making the horticultural sector in Kenya sustainable through a large uptake of SCP practices, the provision of green jobs and the reduction of poverty.
Lake Naivasha is the largest freshwater lake in Kenya’s Rift Valley — the hub of Kenya’s cut flower industry. This unique blend of biodiversity and business requires sound ecological approaches. The GOALAN Project goes beyond farming practices and strengthens producers’ entrepreneurial and marketing skills so they can negotiate for better prices, enter farming contracts, and develop green business plans for financing. GOALAN trains farmers on product diversification and promotes eco-certification. With certified products, the farmers have opportunities to enter untapped markets.
For those farmers who are ready to scale up their businesses, the project enables access to finance by creating links to financial institutions, such as microfinance institutions (MFIs) and commercial
banks (e.g. the Equity Bank). The GOALAN Project addresses public institutions, retailers and hotels as potential customers. The GOALAN Project employs green procurement guidelines to drive the shift towards sustainable consumption.
For Ms Zaineb Malicha, it has all worked out well. Thanks to the SWITCH Africa Green GOALAN Project, today she is sustainably producing her vegetables, ensuring food safety, maximising on her income while minimising negative impacts on the environment — and has a first contract in her pocket.
Source: WWF Kenya, CSCP