Eco Agribusiness evolved from the premise that agriculture, which is the mainstay of the economy in rural Kenya, was increasingly becoming untenable due to climate change. Help Self Help Centre (HSHC), an NGO working in the Mount Kenya region with a number of stake-holders (government, grassroots organizations, and farmers), started investigating ways for the smallholder agricultural community to maintain their economic livelihoods.
The consensus among the group was to look for alternative crops that are less susceptible to climate change – ones that can be grown with the available water supply and that require less land but still produce a high yield. It was determined that certain fruit – strawberry and tamarillo (tree tomato), for example – are more suitable crops. (They are also labour-friendly to women and are unique to the market.) The crops were later expanded to include other fruits like mango, passion fruit, berries, and pineapple.
The ongoing goal is to encourage these smallholder farmers to reduce their reliance on basic staple pulses, cereals, and starch crops and—through this diversification of their crops—make the transition from mere subsistence to market-oriented agriculture, with a correlative improvement to their profit and well-being.
Since 2014 Eco Agribusiness (EAL) has been buying these high-value fruits and processing them into natural fruit pulp, puree, and jam. The company contracts with small-scale farmers to sustainably produce raw material for the company, ensuring full traceability and adherence to positive agricultural practices. As of 2020, over 800 farmers are partnered with Eco Agribusiness Ltd.
The EAL factory and office are located close to the production fields in Naromoru, which is in the heart of Nyeri County, Kenya.