Spurring job creation in Kenya by enhancing the competitiveness of the banana sub-sector

The project aims to contribute to poverty reduction, climate change adaptation and mitigation by promoting ecofriendly and nature-based practices in the banana value chain in Taita Taveta County, leading to increased income and employment opportunities especially for young men and women (youth). The programme implementation comprises 3 partners: Micro Enterprises Support Programme Trust (administrative partner), Wanda Agricultural Group (WAG) and Orana A/S (commercial partners).

The project has rolled out interventions to enhance the banana value chain’s competitiveness and improve market access for the targeted farmers. The interventions include capacity building of smallholder farmers and specific service providers, facilitating vertical and horizontal linkages to increase banana production and incomes. The target is enrolling 2,000 smallholder banana farmers into the program. The project’s overall results include:  to create 550 decent jobs, increase the incomes of 2,000 smallholder farmers (1,500 conventional and 500 organic farmers) by at least 40%, and increase production of bananas to at least 30,240MT annually. The farmers benefit through capacity building like training on Good Agricultural practices, Organic farming, Integrated pest management, soil fertility improvement using compost and vermicomposting and linkages to inputs supply like tissue culture banana seedlings supply, and market outlets for harvested bananas.

In addition, the project has a greening component that looks at increasing the adoption of climate-smart and regenerative agricultural practices in banana production, eco-friendly post-harvest management practices, and embracing circular solutions by the commercial partners. The climate-smart and regenerative agricultural practices include agroforestry and the production and marketing of safe and organic bananas. Circular solutions include waste reuse and recycling and the promotion of cleaner and renewable energy sources. Lastly, the project is sensitizing stakeholders on responsible business conduct.

The achievements from the project include:

  • The overall income of smallholder farmers has increased by 28.1% from KES 275,100 to KES 352,500 as at the midterm project review. Specifically, income from banana production has increased by 103.7% from KES 137,750 to KES 280,643 as at the midterm project review.
  • The farmers have sold 7,200MT of bananas, mostly from conventional banana farming through WAG and other market players. Banana prices have improved by 31%, thereby increasing farmers’ earnings from banana sales. The major market outlets have been Kongowea market in Mombasa and Nairobi, where bananas are ripened and sold in retail fruit markets.
  • Through the commercial partners, 61 new green jobs (34% female, 67% youth) have been created along the banana value chain.
  • There are 274,000 new tissue culture (TC) bananas planted by conventional and organic farmers. The farmers are experiencing increased quantity of harvested bananas due to increased yields per unit area resulting in the farmers ‘uptake of good agricultural practices. Additionally, the quality of bananas has significantly improved from new banana orchards with majority of the farmers being able to harvest grade A and B quality. The banana production has increased by 8.4%. MESPT, in partnership with Orana A/S, has planted 45,000 TC banana seedlings on an organic farm. The organic bananas are expected to start harvesting in October 2024 and will be procured by Orana A/S for export to Denmark.
  • 166,250 agroforestry trees have been planted by smallholder farmers from local agroforestry nurseries towards greening the banana value chain. This has reduced the challenge of strong winds and soil erosion, which has declined from 25% to 7.9% and 17% to 1.9%, respectively.
  • The consortium partners have so far made 1.15 co-investment leverage in the project to support various activities along the banana value chain. Orana has invested 12.7 million DKK in an organic banana nucleus farm. WAG has invested 815,000 DKK in promoting TC banana plantings and procuring harvested bananas.
  • The project is promoting the recycling of banana waste compost manure for use in the orchards. Currently, 65% of the farmers dispose of their banana waste through composting, and adoption has increased by 15%. In addition, the project is partnering with a stakeholder, Ziada Solutions, in circular solutions for recycling banana pseudo stems to produce banana fiber and bio-fertilizer.

Administrative Partner MESPT - Micro Enterprises Support Programme Trust
Key Commercial Partner ORANA A/S
Other Partners Wanda Agriculture Group Limited
Country Kenya
Sector Agriculture & agro-processing
Open / Closed Open
Duration June 2020 - June 2025
Approval Year 2019