Iteration workshop lab 2: Bringing ideas to the ground – iteration on reducing food waste in Kenya

In November 2016, a diverse group of European and Kenyan companies met up in Nairobi in order to tackle the extensive food waste challenge of this country. Their goal was to enhance approaches and business models, which aim at helping the local farmers and food producers to become more efficient and profitable by reducing the amount of post-harvest losses.

Most of the entrepreneurs have met before at the initial lab of tomorrow innovation workshop in Berlin in the beginning of this year. There, they were working for three days on the challenge. They received lots of information and insights from local experts in order to better understand why post-harvest losses reach up to 40% per cent of the total food production. As a result, five projects were initiated and being worked on within the last couple of months. GIZ was supporting them by providing project-specific market data in order to enable the groups to take their ideas to the next level.

One of the projects is going to make use of rejected mangos, by setting up easily portable processing machines. Thus, those fruits, which do not comply with the required size and color, can easily be transported to the farms and processed into higher value products such as juice or food powder. A company from the Netherlands is planning to partner with a local farmers’ association and enable them to receive valuable information on how to grow and treat their plants. They are confident to achieve an improved quality of the harvest, which better complies with the customers’ requirements and therefore reduces the amount of food waste.

In order to execute a real endurance test for these ideas, they have to be piloted in the target country. Therefore, GIZ organized field trips to Kenyan farmers, food-processors and exporters. This gave the participants the opportunity to present their ideas and get immediate feedback. Some of them took the chance to make agreements and discuss business partnerships – an extremely important step for them in order to take roots in this new market. Dennis Odera summarizes his experience as follows: ‘This next step is really important for us because it is easy to come up with a solution in the board room but on the ground the solution may not work. Therefore it is essential to speak to the stakeholders on the ground and find out the actual problems that they face then you can tailor your solution to what really suits them.”

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