Description of the enterprise
KadAfrica is an enterprise based in the western province of Fort Portal (pop-. 40.000) that works with poor, marginalized girls to farm and sell passion fruit. The business farms and distributes passion fruit, with a mixed model
meant to include in the farming process also a network of young women
living in poverty.
The problem/ The opportunity
While Uganda has made enormous progress in reducing poverty – the percentage of population living below the poverty line dropped from 44% in 1996 to 24% today – the absolute number of poor people has increased due to population growth: more than 8 million men, women and children - mostly living in rural areas – still live in poverty.
Farming is not generally viewed as a mean to a viable or sustainable livelihood, it is more seen as a chore - typically carried out by women and girls. However, women own less than 7% of the land in the country. The lack of health care and other social services puts rural women at a particular disadvantage: they work far longer hours than men, have limited access to resources and lack control over what they produce. Among their many other tasks, they also bear the double burden of ensuring that their households are adequately fed and caring for the sick, the elderly, and for children.
Uganda's poorest people include hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers living in remote areas scattered throughout the country. In remote rural areas, smallholder farmers do not have access to the vehicles and roads they need to transport their products, and market linkages are weak or non-existent. These farmers lack inputs and technology to help them increase their production and reduce pests and disease. They also lack access to financial services, which would enable them to boost their incomes, both by improving and expanding their production, and by establishing small enterprises.
The solution proposed by the enterprise
The company was founded by the Ugandan/Kenyan entrepreneur Eric Kaduru and his American wife Rebecca Mason. Kad Africa farms and distributes passion fruits, either directly on the Company's own land or through a network of "Out of School Girls" (young women who dropped out of school and have no access to employment opportunities).
KadAfrica developed a partnership with the local Catholic Church in order to train those girls as farmers: the Church offers its land on free, multi-year concession, while KadAfrica manages recruitment of the girls, trains them with a 9-month program, provides agricultural inputs and agronomic advisory, and buys their crop at minimum pre-agreed prices to sell the passion fruit on the domestic market.
With the investment raised, KadAfrica will expand its network to include around 5.000 girls within the next 10 years. The vision is to start exporting the passion fruits in the neighboring countries and, in the mid-long run, to start a pulping facility so to increase the added value of the production.