Market Linkage (Sokolink)
Over 75% of Kenyans rely on agriculture to make a living – most of these are smallholder farmers, who cultivate small parcels of land and are unsupported in production, isolated from markets. In addition, the high cost of logistics and inputs means that the price that the farmers receive from sales often equals, or is less than, their cost of production. In short, farmers are trapped in a cycle of poverty due to a lack of fair markets.
SokoLink provides a solution for reducing post-harvest food loss in Kenya and creating a transparent food value chain that links farmers directly to export buyers so they can retain more of the revenue from their agricultural sales.
During the P4G funding period from January to December 2022, the partnership helped smallholder avocado farmers receive an average price of 67% more for their produce. The project has directly impacted almost 3,000 farmers (1,500 female and 1,500 male). As a result of SokoFresh’s solar-powered cold storage technology and the farmers’ using better agricultural practices, the partnership was able to reduce about 62,000 tons of Co2 emissions.
In a 1-year period, the partnership was able to ship 20 tons of avocados directly to export buyers, and 360 tons through local export partners. The partnership’s model of integrating cold storage solutions reduced the post-harvest produce loss on export trades from the current 9% to about 2 -3% total. It also certified 1,000 avocado farmers in Global GAP, an internationally recognized standard for growing, traceability and worker safety practices, which helps farmers receive more for their produce. The partnership has also supported an additional 5000 farmers to be certified.
After documenting the challenges inherent in Kenya’s agricultural practices, piloting SokoLink’s innovative business model for a year, and witnessing its promising results, our work will be carried forward as a commercial partnership between SokoFresh and One Acre Fund.