EDFI AgriFI committed USD 1.5m to Kentaste to improve the livelihoods of Kenyan organic coconut farmers
- EDFI AgriFI, the Agriculture Financing Initiative funded by the EU, committed circa EUR 1.3million to Kentaste, a leading Kenyan coconut processing company.
- Kentaste is an organic and fair-trade certified producer of coconut products sourced from smallholder farmers on the Kenyan coast.
EDFI AgriFI agreed to provide USD 1.5 million loan to support the growth of Kentaste. The financing aims to boost the company’s production capacity (allowing the firm to double the number of coconuts processed) and to provide long-term working capital needs to sustain its growth.
Founded in 2008, Kentaste is an organic and fair-trade certified manufacturer and distributor of coconuts-based products, namely coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut flour, virgin coconut oil and desiccated coconut. The firm, located along Kenya’s coast which has historically received limited investment for development, works with a network of 2,700 smallholder farmers (the majority of which are organic and fair trade certified). Additionally, 30% of these smallholder farmers are women and a third live under the poverty line. By allowing Kentaste to scale up, EDFI AgriFI intends to significantly impact smallholder farmers’ livelihoods as coconuts are the largest source of their household’s income.
“Kentaste has an innovative hybrid model focusing both on local sales and exports and has managed to build a leading brand in East-Africa. The project has not only an important social impact by creating added value and income opportunities in a rural area of Kenya but also has important environmental benefits since Kentaste promotes an agroforestry model via tree planting,” explained Guillaume Simoes, AgriFI Investment Officer at EDFI Management Company.
In addition, the company aims to at least double the number of farmers reached to date (from 1800 to 4000) while focusing on women empowerment both internally and within its suppliers’ network.
“It is our ambition to be Kenya’s leading producer of high quality, premium branded products, manufactured using inputs from organic and fair-trade certified smallholder farmers. We are in a unique position to build a sustainable business that has, through our network of thousands of farmers, a major impact in the region that we operate in. For years, the coconut crop has been neglected in Kenya due to the lack of value addition. Kentaste has been able to access markets globally with our products, and investment from EDFI and other partners allows us to grow our sourcing and production capabilities, buying more coconuts from more farmers” concluded Kyle Denning, CEO of Kentaste.
“Kentaste Products Ltd is well known by the European Union Delegation to Kenya as it has received financial support by the AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund from 2019 to help the company offer a consistent market to smallholder farmers and better prices due to the increase of Kentaste processing capacity. Since then, Kentaste has organically grown in quality and quantity of products while the smallholder farmers are implementing climate smart approaches to their farms. EDFI AgriFI investment will allow Kentaste to continue its sustainable growth path.” shared Adolfo Cires Alonso, Finance and Private Sector Development Program Manager at EU Delegation Kenya.
About EDFI AgriFI
EDFI AgriFI, the EU Agriculture Financing Initiative, is an impact investment facility funded by the European Union, with a mandate to unlock, accelerate and leverage investments with a value chain approach in developing countries, focusing on smallholder’s inclusiveness and/or agri-business medium, small and micro enterprises (MSME).
AgriFI is managed by EDFI Management Company on behalf of the 15 European Development Finance Institutions (DFI).
Kentaste is Kenya’s leading manufacturer of coconut-based products. Based in Ukunda along Kenya’s coast, the company manufacturers high-quality virgin coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut flour, and desiccated coconut using coconuts sourced from thousands of organic and fair-trade certified farmers. The products are sold through retail channels and in bulk across East Africa as well as in the USA, Middle East, and Europe.
- Mathilde Poncelet – Communication officer, EDFI MC
- Andrew Massaro – Commercial Director, Kentaste
- Myra Bernardi – European Union Delegation Kenya
- Cristina Vicente Ruiz – Coordinator of EDFI-AgriFI, DG INTPA (European Commission)