Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) has hosted a delegation from the Danish Government led by Mr. Henrik Larsen, the Deputy Head of Danish Mission in the Danish Embassy in Kenya. The delegation is in the country as part of a three-day tour to have an overview of projects and initiatives supported by the Danish Government. KCIC is one of the projects in Kenya being funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During the visit, KCIC CEO Edward Mungai headed the delegation to a call on one of KCIC’s clients, Hydroponics Africa, the pioneer initiator of hydroponic farming technology in East and Central Africa. The client specializes in manufacturing, installation and marketing of customized hydroponic fodder and vegetable systems to help small and medium holder farmers access high quality, cost-effective and sustainable farming techniques while at the same time mitigating adverse effects on the climate.
Danish Audit Team Forms Part of the Delegation
A team from the office of the Auditor General in Copenhagen, Denmark who formed part of the delegation were impressed to witness part of the KCIC success cases, noting that Hydroponics Africa is one of the organisations which have undergone the incubation and acceleration programmes and finally qualified for Proof of Concept (POC) financing. The client is among the pioneer clients inducted into the KCIC incubation programme in 2015.
“This is a very great venture which will go a long way in mitigating the challenges of food insecurity especially in areas like Kakuma where this client has ventured,” one of the auditors commented, “I am glad that the innovation is also climate friendly.”
Hydroponics Africa CEO Peter Chege explained to the delegation that the dynamic transformation of his enterprise over the last five years can entirely be attributed to KCIC. “The vision of our company since inception has been to introduce simple and affordable hydroponic farming solutions to every household,” he expounded, “Kenya CIC has helped us achieve this through their business incubation and financing options.”
”KCIC has taken us from a mere start-up to a scale-up since joining it, and we have grown from having just two employees to a growing number of 36 and a management board,” he says, “we have also expanded to six other countries.”
Since incubation by KCIC, Hydroponics Africa has created 24,000 employment opportunities from the 6,000 installations that it has made. It has also saved 500 million liters of water because the farming technology uses 80% less water. Contrary to previous times when the client’s beneficiaries were primarily men, it has now engaged youth, women, persons with disabilities as well as corporate institutions.
Part of Projects Auditing
The visit by the audit team from Denmark is an exercise that happens periodically to guarantee that the Danish funded projects are in line with the donor-set guidelines and to evaluate the impact that they have. KCIC CEO Edward Mungai further disclosed that there are other progressive clients who have graduated from the different KCIC programmes. “We have so far graduated about 40 clients into the alumni group who have successfully completed our acceleration programme,” Edward mentioned, “they all have the requisite skills to even mentor upcoming entrepreneurs.”
“Even as we target higher numbers in the few coming years, we are grateful to KCIC interventions because as we become their alumnus-client, we have been exposed to the world and have already had several other funding opportunities,” Peter, Hydroponics Africa CEO expressed.
The delegation commended the work of KCIC and Hydroponics Africa and termed it as a game-changer in the agribusiness industry. They also noted the holistic impact on climatic trends because the innovation not only warrants food security but also leads to massive water conservation.