Africulture: Transfarming Africa (c)
Africulture is an organic, fair-trade, small-scale farmer coop for the resuscitation, rebranding and commercialization of lost & declining crops of Africa for longterm and sustainable food sec
Africulture: Transfarming Africa (c)
In the backdrop of Kenya's colonial history, and consequent shifts in consumption patterns, many traditional foods were put on the back burner, and have devolved, unfortunately, into a food for the lower class or rural citizens, in favor of corn products, heavily processed foods, and imported agri-cultures, such as disproportionate cash-crop farming that isn't viable in the face of food insecurities.
Most traditional crops are very resilient, enrich the soils and are very nutritious when consumed. We also recognize the urgency in the conversion to organic farming, following comprehensive studies on the negative impact of various chemical inputs on human health and the entire ecosystem in the short and long term, the environmental degradation as a result of chemical fertilisers, herbicides and the assault on bio-diversity as a result of GMOs.
Africulture will take a 3 pronged approach:
- Cultivation of unique, local vegetables and fruit crops through conservation agriculture (organic, agroforestry, and REDD carbon sequestration).
We will start with support for the declining cereals like millet, amaranth and sorghum and local green leafy vegetables, like "Osuga” , “Mrenda” or "Kunde" grown in much of Western, Kisii and Nyanza Province in Kenya. They are popularly known by their vernacular names, and usually are the leaves of bean plants like the cow-peas (for kunde).
- Agroforestry: We’ll necessitate the growth of particular tree crops (butterfruit, imbe (mangosteen), ebony fruit, and agbayun (miracle berry)) for the immediate environmental benefits to the crops and environment,for long term harvest of exotic, commercial trees like the ebony which fetches extremely high market premium prices internationally, for its cultivated woods but provides valuable fruit in the meantime.
- Herb gardening: We’ll grow saffron and vanilla the world's most expensive spices (saffron is the most expensive with vanilla bean being the second most expensive), whose premiums will be realized on international markets and the funds will be used to increase the incomes of farmers and support the extension services of Africulture which we will usher in value addition and post harvest technologies such as canning, fruit preserves, drying, freeze drying among others.
The rescusitation, re-branding and local and international retailing of particular traditional lost crops of Africa grown under organic methods and fair-trade conditions. This will be structured in a small-scale farming cooperative model, and target farmers initially in Ngozi village Kakamega, Western Kenya and duplicated across the country fostering long-term food security, sustainable and ethical agriculture, and promoting traditional agricultural science and methods.
The farmers in the co-op and entrepreneurs at all levels of production will stand to gain super-normal profits, and increased land productivity, in a system of agriculture that allows subsistence, bio-centric farming.Local entrepreneurs will gain from extensive employment opportunities emergent from the various stages of value added production, branding and marketing as well as revenue on the premium sales both locally, regionally and internationally.
In the short to med-term, we will work Investors paying for the start up process: seeds and proper farming implements, consultation and extension services during start-up and the packaging and marketing of products. In the long term our sales revenues from both traditional crops and premium herb and ebony will sustain expansion, production and marketing processes.
6 mth:-Retailing of various traditional vegetables, in local and regional markets of Kisumu, Kakamega, Nairobi, Narok; mostly by street vendors.
12 mth:-Retailing of Africultures crops in local and regional markets of Kisumu, Kakamega, Nairobi, Narok, Mombasa; have our products carried in local supermarket chains Nakumatt, Tusky's, and Uchumi.
-Growth of saffron and ebony in nurseries and then introducing them to specific gardens 3-5 yrs:- Premium retailing of saffron spice and ebony wood to finance expansion and sustenance of project - Development of sister programs in other countries in Africa - Control of over 50% market share in traditional crops of Africa in regional and global markets
How will it be accomplished
Through our cooperativein Ngozi Village we will begin drive innovation to the farmers and incorporate the farmers into the knowledge and agency building process in a Participatory Action Research model.
Four farmers at the executive planning board, with a combined 80 years of work within the industry.We will work in consultation with some of the best in the field, including leading research bodies in Africa along with University researchers at Michigan State University among other leading institutions.
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