CONSTRUCTING DAMS & HALTING SAND HARVESTING

Profile:

Kakuyuni Farmers Co-operative Society Ltd (KFCS)
Product focus: Coffee
Location: Kangundo, Kenya
Type: Small producer – 1,500 farmers
Fairtrade certified since: 2010
Contact: Salome Kilonzo – kakuyunifarmers@yahoo.com

Challenge:

Sand harvesting and inadequate rainfall due to climate change have drastically lowered water levels of rivers in the Kangundo area. Sand harvesting is a new, income-generating activity whereby unemployed youths sell river sand to construction companies. It causes the degradation of rivers as it hinders streams from retaining water. In addition, one of KFCS’s existing dams had been silted up, failing to supply the necessary quantities of water for coffee processing. Of the organisation’s five factories, two had to halt the pulping process due to insufficient water access last year.

Solution:

 

To curb the water shortage KFCS has constructed two new dams near both factories using the Fairtrade Premium. Construction took place earlier this year and was finished in three months’ time. The siltation problem in KFCS’s existing dam has been tackled by constructing a gabion – a cylindrical metal container filled with stones – so that sand no longer flows into the dam. The organisation also decided to increase the size of one of the factories’ water tanks.

Creating jobs for the youngsters has halted sand harvesting. Their parents, who are all coffee farmers, decided to give a minimum of 50 coffee trees to their children. Not only did this move create a source of income, it will also allow the next generation of coffee farmers to establish themselves. The young farmers were trained in coffee husbandry with help from Solidaridad and the Swedish Co-operative Centre.

Costs

All the construction expenses were covered by the Fairtrade premium. Total cost of the project was just under USD 10,000.

Activity Cost in USD
Construction materials 7,950
Casual workers 895
Supervision fee 300
Gabion for Kakuyuni factory 290
Total $9,435

Click here for a more comprehensive budget

Results:

The adjustments took place earlier this year, so their effect still needs to be proven. However, all dams are now at full capacity and farmers can be assured that the pulping and washing process will not be interrupted by water shortage. The farmers will also reap other benefits as they can use the water for household activities during dry season or diversify their income by planting vegetables. Finally, youth unemployment in the area has decreased.