2016 winner: Agro-Hub, Cameroon
Helping cassava farmers gain access to markets
Agro-Hub is an agricultural production and marketing agency in south-west Cameroon, working to connect smallholder farmers with sustainable markets.
It has built a small integrated factory to transform cassava, a staple crop in Cameroon, into starch and garri, a type of tapioca, and sell these value-added goods to consumers through its own fresh food store (Agro-Mart). So far, the agency has helped more than 700 farmers increase productivity and income as they build long-term sustainable relationships with buyers.
Agro-Hub received a prize of CHF 300 000, which it intends to use for upgrading its cassava processing facilities. This increase in production capacity will allow it to support more farmers, and contribute to improved food security and living conditions.
“At the beginning, the production processes were carried out manually, but the Nestlé CSV Prize will help us in establishing a modern, integrated starch and garri factory. With this factory, we will be able to reduce the production process to one day or a few hours, potentially increasing our production to 10 tons of starch per week.”
Atem Ernest Lefu, Co-Founder and CEO, Agro-Hub
Watch a short video about Agro-Hub’s work
2016 runner-up: Natural Extracts Industries (NEI), Tanzania
Pioneering the sustainable extraction of vanilla
Natural Extracts Industries, a social enterprise from Tanzania, was selected as the 2016 CSV Prize runner-up for pioneering the sustainable production of natural flavour extracts from vanilla, cacao and orange.
Working with farmers and co-operatives, NEI helps build local capacity through sustainable agricultural practices such as agroforestry, intercropping, drip irrigation and composting. It has also developed manufacturing operations that add value to the products supplied by smallholder farmers.
NEI has invested the CHF 200 000 prize money to expand its network of smallholder farmers and maintain the subsidy scheme it introduced to reduce barriers to entry.
“Our business model is predicated on creating value for business and community alike. On the business front, we offer customers a natural product that follows the global clean-label trend. And for the community, the incremental income received by farmers enables women and youths to succeed without having to migrate to urban centres, where they may not even find employment. The Nestlé CSV Prize will bring us additional financial strength and credibility.”
Juan Guardado, Co-Founder, Natural Extracts Industries
Watch a short video about NEI’s work