Increasing access to valuable farming assets for a sustainable future in Kenya

Laetitia Victoria Mukungu ’12 and MCF Scholar Ellen Savuda

With her fellow business partner Ellen Savuda, Laetitia is combining what she learned in university and her lived experience to alleviate hunger through their business, Nutri You Farm.

Published: 25 February 2021

In their words, Laetitia and Ellen explain their motivations for their venture and their successes thus far.

“As children, we would visit the village regularly during the school holidays to visit our grandparents, who are retired smallholder farmers. During our trips, we noticed recurring trends –during the rainy season, there was plenty of food to the extent that some of it got spoiled due to a lack of storage. Then virtually nothing was grown during the dry season. At this time, people would suffer from poor diets, little incomes, and the necessity of buying expensive food from the tropical areas of the country.A lack of farm work caused community dislocation as many families migrate to squalid, overcrowded urban areas in search of work.

We came up with the idea of Nutri YouFarmin 2015 while studying at EARTH University, Costa Rica. We were inspired by EARTH’s practical lessons on sustainable agriculture and ethical entrepreneurship,and we dreamt of replicating their model in our home country, Kenya. Nutri You is the outcome of our dream to alleviate poverty, promote social justice and build a future where our communities achieve sustainable and shared prosperity.

Nutri You Farm seeks to increase smallholder farmers’ access to high-quality inputs through asset-based financing and agriculture training services to reduce hunger and poverty. Nutri You Farm offers a comprehensive service bundle that includes distributing a low-cost drip irrigation system, seeds and fertilizer; training to maximize productivity; and market facilitation to maximize profits. Farmers are offered a flexible payment plan, through the company’s PAYGO model. This is a digital credit system that removes the initial financial barrier to agri-input access by allowing consumers to make a series of payments over six months. To date, NutriYou Farm has 1,500 beneficiaries that have directly been impacted by the work we do. Nutri You Farm has currently expanded to exporting horticultural products (avocados and mangoes) to international markets.”

Ellen Savuda and Laetitia Mukungu have previously established agri-businesses. Ellen’s BUMA Farm uses its resources – a greenhouse and fishpond – to supply local tenders and train the community. The farm has $30,000 in revenue, 5 employees, and conducted 3 workshops with 1,000 attendees. Laetitia’s Africa Rabbit Centre is a cooperative that raises and sells rabbit products to help local women pay for their children’s education in Butere constituency. ARC trains women whom further are able to start their ventures and earn approximately $30 per month. While the women learn on-the-job skills, ARC supports itself by selling rabbits, 400 annually, to other rabbit suppliers and restaurants in Kenya.

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