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Planting for the Future

Micro-forestry social business in Africa uses decentralised model aiming for scale.

Photo of Meena Kadri
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Komaza is a social business creating sustainable economic opportunities for farmers living in Africa’s semi-arid regions. Working through village-based field staff, they partner with families and help them plant and maintain small-scale, income-generating tree farms. They call it microforestry.

The seem to have a really well thought-out model which includes field staff who are decentralised and build strong relationships with the communities Komaaza serves. They offer packages to farmers which take in training, planting needs, maintenance support, harvest & sales support and ongoing strategies for new income opportunities.

"By bundling high-value trees with financial, training and marketing services, microforestry enables communities of farm families to accomplish what none could accomplish by working alone. Over ten years, a farmer earns more than $5,600 from a half acre of trees and one acre of short-term crops. Families earn this money through their own hard work and continue earning it as long as they maintain their farms. In this way, we replace charity with entrepreneurship." – Komaza Value Proposition 

They do a great job of communicating their impact across economic, environmental and social progress. They make efforts to build awareness and access amongst their farmers for socially beneficial investments such as nourishing meals, school fees and water purification systems.

Although it's early days fro Komaaza they're aiming at scale: "By 2020, we plan to be working with over 165,000 families across Africa. That’s over a billion dollars in farmer income waiting to be harvested. A billion dollars that farmers earn themselves. A billion dollars to invest in education, healthcare and new businesses – replacing aid and charity with investment and entrepreneurship." Check out their first tree harvest low-down (including notes on how farmers hope to spend their money) 

I'm especially impressed by the use of local field workers who are in touch with issues at a rural level and Komaza's considered focus on long-term, big picture financial sustainability. A great example of a social business in action – and growing!


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Awesome sustainable idea

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