Clean-tech entrepr...

Clean-tech entrepreneur Marion Moon is saving Kenyan agricultural sector

As we become more and more aware of the risks of an unhealthy environment, sustainable cultivation techniques that don’t utilize chemical fertilizers have become a big selling point in the local produce market. Marion Moon, a Kenyan social entrepreneur supported by the Kenya CIC, recognized this business opportunity and started a company, Wanda Organic Limited, to help small farmers increase productivity without compromising the quality of the soil and the delicate ecosystem.

Many studies conducted in Kenya have emphasized the declining soil fertility and the consequent reduction of productivity of local farms. Heavy reliance on chemical fertilizers over the last four decades has negatively impacted the country’s agricultural sector. In some areas, the soil is so depleted that farmers cannot sustain any type of cultivation. As a result, a growing number of farmers cannot produce enough food to feed their families or generate income by selling their products at the local market.

The widespread use of wrong cultivation techniques makes the situation even more alarming. In many cases farmers keep planting the same crops on the same piece of land season after season, not allowing enough time for the soil to naturally regenerate. Failing to respect this ‘natural balance’ through crop rotation ignites a vicious cycle in which farmers have to supplement the lack of nutrients by using chemical fertilizers that further deplete the soil in the long term.

To address these challenges, Marion Moon has developed and commercialized a series of bio fertilizers that help restore soil fertility through an innovative combination of organic matter and microbes that ‘activate’ nutrients already present in the soil.

Wanda Organic Limited was established in 2011 to identify and provide sustainable solutions to the agricultural sector, with special focus on soil health and fertility,” says Marion.

To make sure these fertilizers are suitable for Kenyan soils, Marion and her staff from Wanda Organic have spent the last two and a half years performing field trials. The tests conducted were extremely successful and in July the company’s products received official certification by the Ministry of Agriculture. Since then, Wanda Organic with the support of the Kenya CIC has been conducting an ambitious marketing campaign to raise awareness on the benefits of bio fertilizers and the importance of a healthy ecosystem.

The Kenya CIC is also supporting this young venture by helping Marion improve the company’s internal policies and procedures, by providing better access to critical market information, and by facilitating linkages with business networks and local manufacturing plants. Furthermore, Marion was also selected by the center as one of the 20 clean-tech entrepreneurs that participated in the first-ever support program for crowdfunding in East Africa.

Being part of the group that is piloting crowdfunding in Kenya is really exciting, as this will not only help us raise capital, but will also build our visibility and networks,” said Marion after the first seminar on crowdfunding organized by the Kenya CIC.

With the support of the center, Marion is now planning to scale up her business and set up a manufacturing plant in Kenya in the next two years.

 “I’m so committed to soil fertility in Kenya because we must protect our soils. I’m a social entrepreneur and I hope to not only make a change through Wanda Organic but also to inspire others to be more conscious of their role in the greater society and do what is necessary to improve existing inequalities.”

Please login to post comments.