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Thursday, 23 February 2017

Unilever, Agventure & SNV sign Memorandum

Kenyan farmers adopt conservation agriculture to double Kenya’s canola oil production in 2017. Unilever East Africa, Agventure Ltd. and SNV Netherlands Development Organisation have [on 22 February 2017] signed a Memorandum of Understanding formalising a venture that aims to double canola oil production in Kenya by the end of 2017 via contract farming arrangements. Ambassador Frans Makken of the Kingdom of the Netherlands was present during the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement. The Dutch Embassy is funding SNV’s five year HortIMPACT programme and considers the agreement an excellent example of the combination trade and development cooperation which forms the core of Dutch development cooperation policy. The agreement involves technical assistance to local farmers and a financial investment of KES 23 Million split among the three partners. Canola, also known as rapeseed, is growing in popularity in Kenya. As a rotation crop it has numerous benefits for the soil and the farmers. It is a break with the past from traditional to conservation farming and as such, significantly reduces erosion, improves water retention and leads to fewer weeds, pests and diseases. The farmers’ risks are more diversified compared to planting mono-crops and it increases their climate resilience. An approach that will result in higher yields and returns as well as reduced labour, fertiliser and pesticide costs. Speaking during the MoU signing, Unilever East Africa MD Justin Apsey lauded the partnership sighting that it went hand in hand with Unilever’s Sustainability commitment towards reducing environmental impact and improving local farmer livelihoods. “Sustainable farming methods have the potential to increase yields considerably, mitigate the effects of climate change and provide economic and social benefits to farmers, their families, and the surrounding communities. Participating local farmers will benefit from and contribute to economic development and sustainable farming practices in Kenya.” Unilever purchases around 2% of the world’s supply of sunflower and canola oils, touted as one of the healthiest edible oils and the 7,000 MT peak demand for their Blue Band factory in Kenya is a perfect trigger to establish a sustainable local sourcing model.

Source: www.snv.org