Fighting Climate Change
Fighting climate change is one of the most urgent and complex challenges facing humanity today. It affects every aspect of our lives: from health and well-being to food and water security to economic and social development. To combat climate change, we need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to its impacts. Two companies in Africa with which FINCA is partnering are doing just that.
Kentaste: Helping Coconut Farmers Fight Climate Change
Coconut farmers on the Kenyan coast face severe challenges related to climate change. Agronomic practices are poor. Farmers’ access to extension services limited. Many farmers don’t know how to best to take care of their trees in good times, let alone in challenging situations. When East Africa’s most recent drought began in 2020 (the worst since satellite record-keeping began), coconut farmers lost many trees and saw dramatically reduced yields from the trees that survived.
The farmers working with Kentaste face the same challenges as their peers. But the company is helping them endure by teaching them to be better farmers. As Kentaste’s founder, Kyle Denning, says “They weren’t really coconut farmers before Kentaste. They were farmers who happened to have coconuts on their land.”
With support from Kentaste, these farmers – women and men – have learned how to take care of their trees. They now know that mulching the base of the tree reduces evaporation. Kentaste introduced the idea of watering the trees in times of the most severe drought. And Kentaste gives the farmers increased market opportunities, higher bargaining power, and a more consistent revenue stream than selling to small, local traders.
Kentaste also is committed to reducing its carbon footprint. The company uses solar power, biogas, and biomass as sources of energy for its operations.
Chanzi: The Power of Insects
Chanzi uses black soldier fly larvae to turn food waste into a nutritious protein for animal feed. Black soldier flies have a high protein content. They feed on organic waste such as fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy products. They can reduce the volume of organic waste by up to 70 percent in a matter of days.
From a climate point of view, black soldier flies also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More than 90 percent of waste generated in Africa ends up in uncontrolled dumpsites and landfills. The dumps and landfills generate greenhouse gases through open burning or anaerobic decomposition of the waste. Feeding the waste to the larvae eliminates much of those emissions.
Meanwhile, Chanzi helps people adapt to climate change by increasing their resilience and enhancing their livelihoods. Chanzi’s locally produced animal feed reduces the demand for fishmeal and soybean meal that are often imported from abroad or produced unsustainably. And they’re creating local jobs. “The remit for our in-house engineering department is to design, fabricate, and maintain everything locally,” says their CEO. “It’s made Chanzi a truly African method of growing insects and it is a model we can then roll out continentally.”
In conclusion, Kentaste and Chanzi are two examples of African companies that are fighting climate change and helping people adapt to it. They use innovative and sustainable business models to leverage the potential of renewable resources. The companies create positive social and environmental impacts that benefit their customers, suppliers, employees, and partners. They are inspiring examples of how African entrepreneurs can lead the way in addressing the climate crisis and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.