UNFIRE - Unorthodox Feeds Innovation for Rural Entreprising Smallholder Farmers.

Competition Finalist

This entry has been selected as a finalist in the
Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards competition.

High cost of feed remains the unresolved root cause of expensive prices of poultry/livestock products & dwindling supply. UNFIRE directly tackles this using a novel feed which is 60% lesser in cost than regular feeds while increasing income and farm output of rural Smallholder farmers by 50 - 80%.

About You

Organization: Aleph Tav Limited more ↓↑ hide↑ hide

About You

First Name

Blessing

Last Name

Mene

About Your Project

Organization Name

Aleph Tav Limited

Organization Website

Organization Country

Nigeria, ED

Country where this project is creating social impact

Nigeria, ED

Select the stage that best applies to your project

Start-Up (a pilot that has just begun operating)

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Is your organization a

Hybrid

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Your Solution

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Project Name

UNFIRE - Unorthodox Feeds Innovation for Rural Entreprising Smallholder Farmers.

Elevator Pitch: Share a concise summary. This will be the introductory text about this pitch that viewers will see.

High cost of feed remains the unresolved root cause of expensive prices of poultry/livestock products & dwindling supply. UNFIRE directly tackles this using a novel feed which is 60% lesser in cost than regular feeds while increasing income and farm output of rural Smallholder farmers by 50 - 80%.

Problem: What problem does your solution address?

Smallholder farmers are the backbone of African agriculture and food security as they produce over 70% of poultry/livestock food consumed, yet 80% live below $2 per day due to low income and decreased annual yield caused by HIGH COST OF POULTRY/LIVESTOCK FEEDS. This "feeds gap" i.e. root cause puts millions of families at risk for poverty & malnutrition—the world’s most serious health problem & the single biggest contributor to child mortality.

Solution: What is the proposed solution?

UNFIRE produces novel, culturally-acceptable poultry/livestock feeds that is:
a) Low-cost: 60 – 80% lesser than existing feeds solution.
b) Highly Nutritional: Made from readily-available but unexploited environmental resources & agricultural waste such as mango seed kernels; elephant grass; maize and cassava waste from milling plants etc.

Secondarily, UNFIRE operates a community-based and self-supportive model where local youth groups are positively engaged in the collection of raw materials which are purchased by UNFIRE (fair-trade) and rural women are recruited, trained and empowered to run their own businesses as vendors supplying and selling these farm products (grown with UNFIRE feeds) within their own communities. 

Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

Blessing Mene is the linchpin of our team. His experiences as a Smallholder farmer, Researcher, Chemist & international-award winning social entrepreneur formed the inspiration for this project. Esther Kantiok (Dr) connected UNFIRE with high profile Research institute/Experts to help continually refine our findings. Another team member, Kelvin Ogholi brings together 6 years of experience in Leadership, Farming & Statistics to ensure that our operations are smooth and excellent. Ashbel Ayuba (Avid Agricultural Merchant) & Mene first launched the pilot based on the premise that improving farmers income and productivity & increasing affordability of poultry/livestock can be achieved simultaneously through producing cheaper feeds like UNFIRE's!

Select Sector(s): To which of Unilever's categories of sustainability does your solution apply?

Nutrition, Sustainable Agriculture, Smallholder Farmers.

Measurable Impact

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Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how your solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The main disadvantage of poultry/livestock agriculture is the expensive price of poultry/livestock feeds. For example, Ayuba in Kaltungo, Nigeria is a poultry farmer operating out of a residential backyard. Even if he would love to produce 500 chickens instead of 150, he would never be able to afford the feeds and marketing cost necessary to take that quantum leap and gain entry into the sustainable/local food system. By reducing the cost of feeds from $17 per 25kg to $8 per 25kg and doing marketing for Ayuba through our network of female vendors, UNFIRE eliminates this disadvantage, giving rural smallholder farmers like Ayuba entry into the sustainable/local food system while reducing retail price of poultry/livestock products by 40-60%.

Audience: Who have you identified as your customers/recipients and why? How will you get your solution to them or engage them in your initiative?

Our customers are smallholder farmers like Ayuba who aspire to be key players in sustainable/local food system. UNFIRE plans to reach them via well-established associations of farmers e.g. Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Nigerian Women Agro Allied Farmers Association (NIWAAFA) etc. Each of these associations have between 5,000 – 300,000 farmers registered locally – serving as a credible channel and excellent avenue to scale rapid supply of our feeds.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date and expected impact in the future?

Quantitative Impact:
• Feeds sold for $8 instead of $17.
• 58 tonnes of waste mango seeds recovered.
• Partnered with JA Farms, Nigeria, West Africa to run 18 months pilot.
• 5,000 consumers were served; 27 rural youth engaged & 10 women vendors employed.
• 100% of women vendors (previously unemployed) generated $65 per week equivalent with minimum wage.
• 14, 400,000g of livestock products over a period of 18 months i.e. 45,000 eggs, 3,070 chickens etc.

Qualitative Impact:
• Positive impact on consumers’ health due to increased consumption arising from lower prices of eggs and chickens – effective protein-rich source for combating malnutrition.
• Waste to wealth – cleaner environment due to mango seed waste collection etc..
• Increased local employment options.
• Women empowerment.

Growth, Finance & Leadership

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Marketplace: Who else is addressing this problem and how does the proposed solution differ from these approaches?

Competitor include leading Nigerian Feed Manufacturers such as Livestock Feeds Plc (www.livestockfeedsplc.com); Feeds Masters Limited (www.feedmasterslimited.com); Premier Feeds Mill Limited (www.flmnplc.com/premier) etc. The underlying fact behind their feeds is that they are all CORN-BASED feeds which sell at $17 per 25kg. UNFIRE is different in three ways: 1) UNFIRE feeds are MANGO SEED KERNEL-based; 2) It sells for $8 per 25kg (low-cost) 3) Women vendor network (innovative food supply chain model).
Farmers can now purchase more feeds, expand their production, and generate better income!

Scaling the Solution: How do you intend to scale your activities over the next two years (e.g., reach new markets, diversify solutions, etc.)? What will make this possible?

UNFIRE involves the commitment of Blessing Mene, Kelvin Ogholi, Esther Kantiok (Dr), PROVET Nigeria, KO7 Ltd, and National Research Institute. Using the "blue ocean strategy" we shall scale production and supply through private sector commercialization. We are currently in touch with interested private investor(s) and international social investor organizations like The Acumen Fund West Africa, Big players in the feed manufacturing sector etc.

The prize money and publicity will help us attract mentorship and resources that will accelerate our business development and help us reach our goal of developing and scaling UNFIRE feeds into a well-recognized low-cost feeds for smallholder farmers in Nigeria and West Africa.

Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?

UNFIRE funding comes from earned income – retaining 56.5% of profit from each unit sold; It costs UNFIRE $5 to produce 25kg of feeds which will sell for $8 – making a profit of $3 per 25kg and $120 per tonne. At our current size, we are seeking grants, competition awards, & private donations/investment to raise the capital (approximately $150,000) needed to outfit a facility capable of serving over 1000 rural enterprising Smallholder Farmers.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Mene has a strong educational/research background in Chemistry. Having previously worked in his family farm for over 6 years this project is well-positioned for success. He co-founded the Jorsey Ashbel Farms (award winning social entrepreneurship farm project) which piloted UNFIRE feeds. He has received national & international awards from UNESCO, London School of Business, Foster School of Business USA & Wits Business School South Africa etc.

47 weeks ago Mulindwa Christopher said: Good job for Africa! Go ..... the sky is the limit. about this Competition Entry. - read more >
47 weeks ago Mulindwa Christopher said: Congratulations on this success - God given and I believe for a reason of developing livestock production in Nigeria. I pray that you ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
51 weeks ago Blessing Mene submitted this idea.