Building up the resilience of 30 000 family farms on Mount Elgon (Kenya)

The challenges

On the Mount Elgon, deforestation, inefficient agricultural practices, uncontrolled grazing and soil erosion have a direct negative impact on local biodiversity and soil fertility. They also threaten the watershed and the ecosystem of Lake Victoria as huge quantity of sediments are carried by rivers. On an economic level, the area is poorly developed. Crop yields and milk production are very low and farmers have no sustainable connections to markets.

To address these challenges and break the vicious circle of environmental degradation, poverty and climate change, the Livelihoods Carbon Fund, an impact investment fund created by private companies, partnered with Vi Agroforestry NGO, and Brookside to launch the Livelihoods Mount project in 2016.

The work

This project relies on training farmers on sustainable farming practices and efficiently linking them to Brookside’s supply chain. It is reaching out to 30,000 family farms spread over 35,000 hectares.

Farmers are trained in Sustainable Agricultural Land Management practices (such as retention ditches, mulching, crop rotation, agroforestry, low tillage, improved livestock feeding etc) in order to adapt to the impacts of climate change and reduce greenhouse gases, increase farm productivity and food production (crop, cow feed and breeds, milk). 50% of farmers trained are be women. Farmers are reached through 1,200 farmer groups and 15 existing cooperatives which are supported for milk collecting, cooling and bulking and provide additional services such as veterinary services. As Brookside Dairy has committed to buy all milk produced within the project over a period of 10 years, farmers have long-term visibility and can invest in their farms. The project should improve the livelihood of 30,000 smallholder farmers and their families by creating USD 200 million in the dairy sector over a period of 10 years.

The work

This project relies on training farmers on sustainable farming practices and efficiently linking them to Brookside’s supply chain. It is reaching out to 30,000 family farms spread over 35,000 hectares.

Farmers are trained in Sustainable Agricultural Land Management practices (such as retention ditches, mulching, crop rotation, agroforestry, low tillage, improved livestock feeding etc) in order to adapt to the impacts of climate change and reduce greenhouse gases, increase farm productivity and food production (crop, cow feed and breeds, milk). 50% of farmers trained are be women. Farmers are reached through 1,200 farmer groups and 15 existing cooperatives which are supported for milk collecting, cooling and bulking and provide additional services such as veterinary services. As Brookside Dairy has committed to buy all milk produced within the project over a period of 10 years, farmers have long-term visibility and can invest in their farms. The project should improve the livelihood of 30,000 smallholder farmers and their families by creating USD 200 million in the dairy sector over a period of 10 years.

The participants

Livelihoods funds, Vi Agroforestry (Kenyan NGO part of the Swedish organization We Effect) and Brookside (East Africa’s n°1 dairy player).

Outcomes

In addition of improving smallholder farmers’ livelihood, the project will have multiple other benefits: sustainable agricultural practices, agroforestry and the protection of river banks will contribute to watershed conservation and protection of Lake Victoria. Land restoration and agroforestry trees will highly reduce soil erosion, and in the long run increase soil fertility. The project will also have a substantial impact on CO2 through increase in soil organic matter and tree planting. Carbon sequestration will be tracked by the farmers themselves by filling in a simple farm activity monitoring form. The quantity of carbon sequestrated is used as an indicator of the results delivered by the project. This first of its kind carbon measurement, approved by the Gold Standard, has been specially designed for the Livelihoods Mount Elgon project. The project is expected to sequester more than the equivalent of 1 million tons of CO2.

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