Africa Agribusiness Academy Kenya Chapter signs a Grant Agreement with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) to support Horticulture Agribusiness SMEs

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a major role in economic development, particularly in emerging countries. Studies indicate that formal SMEs contribute up to 45 percent of employment and up to 33 percent of GDP in developing economies. However, access to technical support remains a key constraint to SME development. Technical support access is critical for the growth of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). It allows entrepreneurs to innovate, improve efficiency, expand to new markets, and provide increased job opportunities.

Over the last eight years, Africa Agribusiness Academy (AAA) embarked on a systematic approach aimed at supporting Agribusiness SMEs access affordable technical support which is offered by internal experts or outsourcing external business service providers. AAA has communities of practice that are internally referred to as sector desks (SDs). SD brings together SMEs and key stakeholders of a particular sector to discuss common issues affecting them. AAA facilitates these discussions and engages relevant partners to solve some of the issues affecting the SDs. There is a number of SDs as AAA is not biased on any sector in its membership.

On 20th March 2019 AAA Kenya chapter signed a two years grant agreement with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) to support Horticulture SMEs in Migori, Homabay, Kitui and Makueni counties, streamline their supply chain management as well as provide markets to small enterprises (SEs) who are the smallholder farmers they work with. MEDA is keen to ensure that the SMEs get the necessary support and that they work closely with their smallholder farmers in guaranteeing markets for their produce.

Lack of Supply chain management skills to grow and manage the entire business and supply chains is one of the issues SMEs face. Under this project AAA will work with horticulture SMEs in the mentioned counties to develop supply chain management skills. At the end of the project we hope to see enhanced business performance by agri-based SMEs in terms of sales, governance, profitability and overall growth. SMEs have complained about lack of supply of consistent quality and required volumes of raw material for processing/export and hence under this project AAA will improve quality of agricultural raw material to meet international market standards and in required quantities for processing/export by; Supporting SMEs to adapt Good Agricultural Practices, use of organic manure and drip irrigation systems to conserve the environment and water sources, enhance SMEs management of their supply chains in order to improve their cost-effectiveness and business linkages with their suppliers, especially in contract management, Support training of SMEs in the sectors in food handling, hygiene and safety standards such as HACCP at all levels to enable certification and traceability. At the end of the project it is expected that there will be improved quality and regular supply of raw material for processing and/or export.

Lack of access to markets has been a bottleneck to both SMEs and smallholders. Under this project AAA will enhance SMEs marketing & financial potential to access more local and export markets by; Carrying out marketing research/study to ascertain marketing opportunities, and gaps in the selected value chains and devise marketing strategies and tactics that will enhance penetration in these markets and economic participation of women and youth in these value chains, Promoting out growers IT Platforms such as E-prod, Farm force, Mezzanine, HCDA system and others, Assist SMEs to acquire necessary systems in managing their marketing functions, including e-marketing, advertising through electronic and print media, social media and promotion through offers & brand promoters in expanding their marketing potential. The project expects to see Increased outreach to local and export markets for SMEs products and services in these sectors leading to higher value and volume of trade as a result of enhanced marketing activities while ensuring at least 30% active participation of women in the economic activities of these value chains AAA will work closely with other Agribusiness stakeholders who include but not limited to; SMEs, smallholder farmers, BDS providers, county & national governments, HCDA, FPEAK, FBOs, business associations, CSOs, EPC, KEPSA, NGOs, development partners among many other partners.

To be part of this project or partnership opportunity please get in touch with Africa Agribusiness Academy Kenya chapter Country Manager, Mr. Samuel Kabiru on Samuel.kabiru@aa-academy.org or on Mobile +254 717 897 912.