Name Kakuzi Limited
GGN 4049929945616 Website http://www.kakuzi.co.ke
Country Kenya

Profile

Kakuzi Limited grows and markets avocados, cultivates, manufactures and markets tea, grows pineapple and macadamia, and is involved in livestock farming and forestry development. One of our major contributions to advancing Good Agricultural and Social Practices in Kenya is that we provide our employees with housing, medical care, water and support with education and environmental protection.

Achievements

KAKUZI LIMITED - STRETCHING THE RAINS

Stretching the rain in our context translates to making maximum use of the rains during wet seasons, implementing measures to ensure rainwater is available during the dry seasons, and responsibly using, monitoring and accounting for each drop of rain. Kakuzi limited majorly relies on harvested rainwater to run its operations and in return gives more back to nature. The huge effort put by the company to ‘stretch the rains’ in order to sustainably run its operations defines water stewardship and this cannot be overlooked.

Kakuzi limited employs and houses over 1,300 employees directly. Each employee comes with an average of five direct dependents; this quickly increases the number of water users to 7,000 plus. The business has a GLOBALG.A.P. certified avocado plantation of over 400 hectares, a macadamia orchard of over 600 hectares, pineapple operations and a staggering 4,200 heads of cattle. These alone would present a challenging stretch to any water source.

With no river, lake or any other natural water source traversing Kakuzi land, the farm has proactively developed a series of dams to harness rainwater. This rainwater, trapped in a battery of sixteen gaping earth pans, is enough to irrigate the avocado and macadamia orchards, fulfill the pineapples water requirements and quench the livestock’s thirst. All this water use is authorized, documented and each raindrop can be accounted for by the company.

The dams are a home to crocodiles, hippopotamuses, fish, frogs, snakes, water plants and other aquatic life. Birds frequent the water bodies at will, as the food chain has to be complete. Interestingly, all positive indicators of quality water, both plants and animals, can be spotted within and around the dams. African honeybees love the dams too. What started as an effort to harness water has resulted in biodiversity improvement.

The conventional meaning of the word drainage is the natural or artificial removal of surface and sub-surface water from an area. To Kakuzi limited, it means getting hold of the rainwater run-off and directing it into infiltration traps and ‘storing’ it in the soil for future use. Alternatively, the water is spread over a wide area and it sinks…believe me…it does, into the soil and eventually drains into the dams or recharges the aquifers. The usual way of handling this run-off would be to dig a tunnel and direct the water hurriedly out of the farm in an effort to ‘ prevent erosion’. It will cause erosion if not responsibly handled. As Kakuzi, we recharge the underground water bank instead. It has been our culture for some time now, passed down to younger managers and employees and we will not stop.

The resultant benefit from the avocado orchards that utilize this water is air purification by the plants, the trees act as a carbon sink, wind speed is controlled, a natural environment is created, the hydrologic cycle is completed. Social, environmental and fringe benefit of economic value i.e. employment creation, and revenue to the government cannot be forgotten. There are springs with clean water oozing from the indigenous forests planted and maintained by the company. Surrounding communities use the clean spring water to meet their water needs.

Rainwater harvesting from roofs is an age-old practice that provides additional water to housed employees. Potable drinking water is from boreholes, of course recharged through our rain-stretching activities. At the pack-house, for example, we have installed push taps to instill responsibility on water use and reduce on water wastage. In addition, all employees have been trained on water usage and water saving tips. The office gardens are planted with succulent plants as we learn from them on rain stretching. We strongly share in the belief that there is enough water in the universe to meet ecological, private, agricultural, and corporate needs, on condition that we pull towards managing the surface, sub-surface and underground aquatic resources.

In summary, our rain-stretching exercise involves:

  • Rainwater harvesting from roofs.
  • Ground water recharge through infiltration traps.
  • Rainwater harvesting and storage in dams.
  • Comprehensive program with clear records of rainfall and evapo-transpiration, water usage, operator training and equipment maintenance across the farm.
  • Biodiversity improvement and sustenance.
  • Sustainable use of the water resources.
  • Ripple effect to the surrounding communities through springs emanating from the recharged aquifers.