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Beans Enterprises and Structured Trade in East Africa Phase 1 kicks off and realises its initial results
The Beans Enterprises and Structured Trade in East Africa Community (BEST-EAC) project; a 15 years program of Kilimo Trust received funds from FoodTrade East and Southern Africa to implement its phase 1 which will run from October 2015 to December 2017. The main objective of this project is to expand structured trade of 30,000 MT/year of beans produced by between 10,000 – 15,000 commercially-oriented small and medium scale farmers (SMSFs), in response to specific market demand; contributing to its goal of doubling the income of these farmers in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. In order to deliver on this objective, BEST-EAC is using the consortium model where the lead firms (LFs) are the pull factors of other value chain consortium members. The project is designed to build strong business consortia-based partnerships of key business operators along the entire beans value chain for end-to-end linkages to guarantee markets for inputs and outputs at local, national and regional levels.

A significant number of activities have been implemented for the period October to December 2015 and the following results delivered:
a) A review of a database of traders from those that have been working with Kilimo Trust, CIAT, and EAGC was conducted and an initial list of 60 traders (disaggregated by country) produced
b) About 63 firms across different categories of the beans value chain in EAC responded to an Expression of Interest (EoI) which was placed in four leading dailies: Uganda- New Vision; Kenya- Daily Nation; Tanzania -Citizen and Rwanda -New Times with a view of inviting partners to work with the BEST EAC project. The EoIs were assessed and 95% met the set criteria and will be invited to work with the project.
c) A total of 10 project buy- in meetings were held in the four project countries: 5 in Kenya (Mombasa, Nairobi, Kisumu, Kakamega and Eldoret), 3 in Tanzania (Arusha, Tanga and Mbeya),
one in Uganda (Kampala) and one in Rwanda (Kigali). The objectives of these buy-in meetings were to:
1) Create awareness on the BEST-EAC project and Kilimo Trust as well;
2) Articulate the project implementation approach; and
3) Develop a way forward on partnership and collaboration towards forming consortia and implementation of project activities
Mr. Albert Ochenje - M&E Expert, ASDSP seeking clarification about the consortium model during buy -in meeting in Kakamega County, Kenya
d) An intensive technical due diligence of the prospective lead firms and FBOs to be engaged in the project has been conducted on the following partners: 2
i. Vision for Harvest Plus
Sarura commodities consortia/span>
traders in Kenya (Yash Commodities Ltd and Betta Grains), 1 trader (Sarura Commodities Ltd) and 4 FBOs for bean grain (Imbarutso za Karembo, COPAMUJA, Intwali mu buhinzi, Duhurizehamwe Mugera); 2 FBOs for bean seed (Coop Abishyizehamwe, Coop Codernya Ibakwe) in Rwanda, one trader in Tanzania (Raphael Group Ltd), and one trader in Uganda ( FACE Uganda).

e) Strategic planning (One-on-one) meetings between lead firms and Farmer Business Organizations (FBOs) were held in Rwanda – Sarura commodities Ltd and 12 FBOs for the grain consortium and Harvest Plus and 5 FBOs for the seed consortium. For the grain consortium, the FBOs committed to bulking 1,600 MT of beans which meet the trader’s (Sarura Commodities Ltd) demand of 1,500 MT per season. On the other hand, the bean seed farmers committed to supplying Harvest Plus with 445MT of seed this season which nearly meets the lead firm’s demand of 500-700 MT of seed per season. The trade in bean seed will be in the second season of which harvest is scheduled in July-August 2016.

f) Bean cropping calendars for the different seasons in each of the project countries have been developed to demonstrate market opportunities in the region. Furthermore, a cost benefit analysis (CBA) for each country has been calculated and an analysis showing gains and losses associated with good and poor practices respectively has also been done. These CBAs will guide the FBOs to make informed decisions and adopt the right practices that will reward them.

g) During the period under review, 3 consortia (1 in Rwanda, 1 in Tanzania and 1 in Uganda) have been established while the process of formation of 3 consortia has been initiated (1 in Rwanda, 2 in Kenya).

In the next quarter, BEST EAC project will put a lot of effort in the process of forming more consortia since they are the vehicles for implementing project activities.

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