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Universität Wien (2019)

Socio-economic benefits for small-scale female macadamia farmers working with the social enterprise Limbua (Kenya)

Auer, Julia Alba

Titre : Socio-economic benefits for small-scale female macadamia farmers working with the social enterprise Limbua (Kenya)

Auteur : Auer, Julia Alba

Université de soutenance : Universität Wien

Grade : Master of Arts (MA) 2019

The global climate is changing and countries like Kenya are suffering from deforestation and many other social, environmental and economic challenges. This master’s thesis examines the socio-economic benefits for organic small-scale macadamia farmers, since they started working with the social enterprise Limbua in Embu County, Kenya. In addition, this thesis investigates the framework and general factors that are necessary for a social enterprise in Kenya, to succeed and to operate ecologically, socially and economically sustainable ; and which challenges arise. These success factors and challenges have also been analysed and demonstrated in relation to the German-Kenyan enterprise Limbua. As part of a three-week Grounded Theory field study, the author conducted 30 semi-structured interviews with small-scale female farmers within three villages of Limbua´s operation in Embu County. In addition, eleven Kenyan experts and Limbua’s founder Matti Spiecker were interviewed about Limbua, agroforestry, gender, social entrepreneurship and climate change in Kenya. With regard to the theoretical substantiation of the argumentation, Kenyan and international secondary sources were used to embed the topics in current discussions. Small-scale farmers in Embu County receive very low prices for their products ; have little access to markets and scarce additional income potential, as there is a lack of employment possibilities within this rural region, which leads to high rural-urban migration. The use of expensive synthetic fertilizers in the past has also acidified the soil, reduced crop yields and left people and animals suffering from health problems. Limbua was founded in 2009 and promotes biological agroforestry through training of farmers and educational initiatives in Kenya and Germany. This brings numerous environmental benefits, but also meets regular income demands of Kenyan farmers while creating a fair, sustainable and local value chain. Once a small-scale farm is certified organic and produces macadamia nuts and/ or avocados, the company buys the products at fair prices and processes the nuts and fruits directly in their three local factories in the villages, creating employment and adding value to the region. Certain trees, such as macadamia, provide a variety of benefits to the population, such as shade, organic fertilizer, livestock feed, food, income, land improvement, water conservation and carbon sinks. This study has shown that the standards of living for small-scale female-headed households, since they became part of the company production chain, have clearly improved and that farms headed by women are, on average, more productive than those headed by men. With the additional income from selling their produce to Limbua, many of them have built permanent houses, educated their children and have purchased additional livestock. Organic farming also leads to a general improvement in farming, which is more affordable and sustainable for the farmers and the environment. Concerning the second research question, a good business concept, investment in talent and employees, a strong and loyal team, as well as a long-term problem-solving approach that really addresses local challenges, are very important to the success of a social enterprise in Kenya. General challenges facing social enterprises in Kenya include financial sustainability, access to financial capital and knowledge, lack of government support, and often western-dominated resources and solutions to local problems.

Mots clés : social entrepreneurship, organic agroforestry, socio-economic benefits, ecological benefits, small-scale farmers, female-headed households, macadamia, climate change


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