Stawi Foods and Fruits Limited

Stawi Foods and Fruits Limited: Banana Flour Production

Meru, KenyaNairobi, Kenya
Year Founded:
2012
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Stawi Foods and Fruits is an award winning banana processing company based in Nairobi, Kenya. Stawi Foods enables small-holder farmers in Kenya to earn higher incomes on their produce and is making an effort to reconnect society, and provide genuine benefit to surrounding communities.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if rural poverty was a thing of the past?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

We are addressing the problem of poverty and low incomes at farm level in rural Kenya. This problem is caused by a number of factors for instance post harvest loss of perishable produce such as bananas which means farmers lose income, exploitation by middle men, and lack of good markets for farm produce.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Stawi procures bananas from small holder farmers and processes them into flour which is sold in local and export market. We are providing farmers with a market for their produce while extending the shelf life of bananas. Our farmers earn 50% more income compared to selling to middle men.
Impact: How does it Work

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

To create sustainable growth, banana farmers in Meru, one of the largest banana producing regions in Kenya, needed buyers willing to purchase their produce at responsible prices. It was the same cycle over and over. Farmers would invest heavily in banana farming, only to end up disappointed by an oversupply in the market or poor pay by middlemen. We thought farmers deserved better.Middlemen were profiteering at the expense of the farmers because of the low market prices caused by an oversupply of bananas to the market during harvest time. Stawi Foods believed this situation required a shift. Stawi Foods was looking for ways of providing a market for small-scale farmers and increasing the shelf life of bananas.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

So far we have impacted 300 smallholder banana farmers. We have created jobs for 10 youth at our business. Going forward, we are going to impact 2,400 banana farmers in 2015 through a PPP with a county Government in Kenya.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

In five years, we will have 7,000 farmers supplying us with raw materials. The number is set to rise as the business grows. The area where we will have suppliers is Central and Eastern Kenya supplying us bananas and other raw materials such as sweet potato and cereals.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The business will be sustainable in 2015 once we break even and start generating profit from sales. We will rely on internal growth and borrowing from financial institutions.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are traders and middle men who buy bananas from small holder farmers. The challenge is that they buy the best yields and reject bananas that are shorter than the required length or that have blemishes. Thus the farmers end up throwing the rejected bananas away and losing out on revenue. We process both rejects and the normal bananas thus farmers do not lose out. Plus we offer a good price compared to brokers.
Team

Founding Story

Stawi was founded as a market place for small-scale banana farmers who needed a better buyer for their perishable produce. This was after the founder witnessed the challenges that farmers faced in Meru which is the home of the founder.

Team

Manish Padhiar received his BS in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics from UCLA. Utilizing the power of the private partners, he wants to identify, cultivate and execute sub-Saharan impact investment opportunities, which deliver critical services such as water, healthcare, energy, and agriculture inputs. Manish is currently enrolled in a dual MBA-MS in Foreign Service program at Georgetown University.
About You
About You
First Name

Eric

Last Name

Muthomi

About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Project
Organization Country

, NA, Nairobi

Country where this project is creating social impact

, EA, Meru

Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals, Businesses, Customers, Other.

Supplemental
Awards: What awards or honors has the project received?

CNN GLOBAL FEATURE ON THE AFRICAN START UP PROGRAM
Stawi was featured to a global audience on CNN as a promising company that is impacting smallholder farmers in Kenya and creating jobs for youth. This has brought Stawi many business leads.
TOP 30 UNDER 30: AFRICA’S BEST YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS, FORBES AFRICA, FEBRUARY 2013
Stawi founder and CEO, Eric Muthomi was honored in February 2014 by Forbes Africa Magazine as a Top 30 under 30 entrepreneur who is making a great impact across Africa.
NATIONAL WINNER IN NATURE CHALLENGE AFRICA, WORLD WIDE FUND FOR NATURE, DECEMBER 2011, NAIROBI, KENYA
Recognition was received for positive environmental impact of Stawi Foods and its potential to create employment opportunities for Kenyans while reducing post-harvest losses.
NATIONAL WINNER OF JITIHADA (TWO) NATIONAL BUSINESS PLAN COMPETITION 2012, KENYA INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT, JUNE 2012, NAIROBI, KENYA
Stawi Foods won this award because it had enriched several banana farmers in rural Kenya whose abundant produce would otherwise have gone to waste or sold at a throw-away price to brokers. The business idea of turning bananas into flour was unique as it incorporates value addition, commercial viability because of its scalability, food security promotion, employment provision to Kenyans and markets for surplus agricultural produce.
WINNER IN THE ENABLIS BUSINESS PLAN COMPETITION 2011, BY ENABLIS EAST AFRICA, OCTOBER 2011, NAIROBI, KENYA
Stawi was the top winner in the agro-processing category in the competition because the business idea for turning bananas into flour would improve food security, reduce post-harvest losses, create incomes for farmers, create jobs, and support Kenya in achieving Vision 2030

Where have you learnt about the competition?

From Ashoka East Africa

Tell us about your partnerships:

We are working on a PPP with the county Government of Kirinyaga to buy from 2400 banana farmers from January 2015.

Challenges: What challenges might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

A major challenge is raising finance for the project. We are making applications to lending organizations for funding. We are structuring a PPP with a county government to secure raw materials on contracts with farmers since we have a challenge of getting enough raw materials.