Name Frigoken ltd
GGN 4049928369994 Website http://frigoken.com/
Country Kenya

Profile

In Kenya until the late 1980s smallholder green bean farmers faced a myriad of obstacles including lack of a guaranteed market, high price fluctuations and lack of transparency in transactions. Productivity was also hampered by low quality farm inputs and poor knowledge and skills on crop and farm management. At the time, these farmers would sell their produce through middlemen at unfair gate prices and without any contractual agreements. The middlemen would sell the produce to exporters for packaging and auction in Europe; however, there was no guarantee that all the produce would be sold in the auction, as airfreight was limited. As a result, small scale farmers would bare most of the risks.

In an effort to address these issues, Frigoken Ltd (FKL) began in 1989, providing farmers a guaranteed market for their green beans. The company commenced by engaging only 50 smallholder farmers in its supply chain. Through value addition, FKL developed a niche product comprising of hand-picked and hand arranged green beans, which sold at higher prices than the widely available processed bean products in Europe.

As the business grew, it became necessary to increase raw material supply, leading to the development of its small-scale farming model which gives farmers an all-year round guaranteed market at pre-set prices. Farmers are provided with high quality farming inputs on a credit (no interest basis) and given extension services (at no cost to them). Today Frigoken is the largest processed vegetable exporter in the East African region and exports approx. 20,000 metric tonnes of green beans to Europe annually. The company now engages over 80,000 small scale farmers 50% of whom are women. The factory in Nairobi employs over 3000 people, 90% of whom are women.

Official Quote

"Joining GLOBALG.A.P. has helped in creating awareness amongst farmers and our staff on sustainable farming and the adoption of Good Agricultural Practices, which helps in the protection of the environment, health and safety and production of safe food. The consequences are that customers have confidence in the safety of the food we place in the market."

Anne Wangechi, Technical Manager Frigoken.

Achievements

Water Management
The company supplies the farmers with water pans at a subsidized rate to assist them for storing water for irrigation- a resource that has been greatly affected by climate change. To date, over 6,000 water pans have been set up and these have shown to assist farmers increase yield by up to 25%. This project has received support and recognition from The Nature Conservancy (TNC), as part of the Upper Tana Nairobi Water Fund initiatives. FKL continues to work with TNC and is exploring ways to scale up the project and include the possibility of setting up community based water projects. Additionally, FKL also supports the development of shallow wells and furrows to assist with irrigation needs.

Integration of Small-Scale Farmers
The Frigoken model puts the farmer first. Through various innovations FKL has managed to amass and maintain a vast number of small-scale farmers. A contractual relationship between an individual small-scale farmer and the company is maintained, ensuring that there is complete transparency of all transactions. Over the years, through maintaining integrity in its operations, Frigoken has been able to gain the trust of local communities. In fact, its operations are seen to be a part of these local communities. Consequently, as the need for greater volumes of produce increases, the network of small scale farmers continues to expand. Furthermore, the all year round cultivation generates disposable cash income, which can be used for education of children, medical needs as well as personal and home lifestyle improvement. This guaranteed regular secondary income has had a significant effect on farmers as it allows them to better plan and manage their finances knowing that there will be regular timely payments if they opt to farm with Frigoken. Considering the secured market linkage and relevant information and skills gained, many farmers are able to move beyond subsistence farming. The small-scale farmers have a typical land holding of 1 to 2 acres; however, cultivation for FKL’s produce occurs on a very small portion. This allows the farmers to produce other cash and/or subsistence crops. Additionally, innovations such as the provision of high quality inputs are made on an interest free credit basis, which allows the farmers to pay for the inputs when they have sold their yield.

Talent for Agriculture, Women and Youth
Our agronomic services are the foundation of our strong relationships with the farmers. Currently the company employs over 1000 extension officers, hired from the local communities, who provide the farmers with up to date Good Agricultural Practices such as crop rotation, irrigation techniques and other sustainable farming practices. The team set up demonstration plots for practical learning as well as one to one training and support at the individual farm level. These services are provided at no cost to the farmers. This year FKL has pioneered the Young Farmers Project. The Young Farmers Project combines our value for supporting and promoting education with our knowledge and technical expertise in good agricultural practices. The aim is to develop kitchen gardens in schools that will act as learning zones as well as support the schools in becoming self-sufficient in meeting some of its basic (nutrition/feeding) needs in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner. It is envisaged that the learning zones will act as teaching grounds for both the students, teachers, parents and local community. Specifically, the project will:

  • Demonstrate good agricultural and environmental practices where students and communities can be trained.
  • Create a platform where students can apply knowledge acquired in the classrooms while developing values and skills for improving agriculture and environmental conditions.

Why Frigoken Deserves to Win
FKL’S impact has been undeniable, since its creation just over 25 years ago Frigoken Ltd. has grown from small group of 50 farmers to an outgrower force of approximately 80,000 small scale farmers spread throughout East Africa. Using statistics from the Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey (2005/2006), this project indirectly benefits approximately 500,000 beneficiaries within the rural areas. As East Africa’s largest export oriented vegetable processor, the FKL model is internationally recognized as an African success story. By employing an approach which emphasizes the importance of sustainable business practices, Frigoken should stand as evidence to others of the positive outcomes that GLOBALG.A.P. participation can facilitate. Growth will continue to be driven by the company’s core philosophy to enhance its development impact and improve the quality of life of its employees, outgrowers, and communities in which it operates.