Integrating 30,000 smallholder farmers to create 60,000 entrepreneurs and jobs in East Africa by 2019

New York � Bidco Africa, a leading manufacturer of fast moving consumer products in East Africa, has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a commitment to integrate an additional 30,000 smallholder farmers into its agriculture value chain and create 60,000 entrepreneurs and jobs by 2019. BCtA is a global initiative that encourages companies to fight poverty through inclusive business models. It is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other international organizations.

An integral component of Bidco's strategy is its expansion into new agriculture and associated value chains, including wheat, maize, rice, potatoes, sugarcane and tomatoes � for which an additional 30,000 entrepreneur farmers will be needed. Bidco is ready to contract with farmers at upfront market prices to enhance their confidence in partnering with the company. The company will also offer technical training to increase farmers' productivity and mentor young entrepreneurs through internships designed to make agribusiness more attractive to young people.

Bidco Africa has a strategic plan to increase its market share five-fold in the sub-Saharan region over the next five years. To make this happen, we will champion the development of world-class agribusiness in Africa and improve people's livelihoods through collaborative partnerships that accelerate inclusive and sustainable growth, said Vimal Shah, Bidco's Chief Executive Officer. To accomplish this, we will work with various strategic partners to transform agri-business in the region, from subsistence farming to commercially-oriented, competitive and modern agriculture. We are pleased to be recognized by BCtA and look forward to a long-term relationship.

The company currently works with 12,500 farmers across East Africa who supply oil seeds (soya beans and sunflower) for its products. Bidco Africa offers farmers a ready market for their products at competitive market prices, and in turn the company secures the raw materials needed to meet market demand. This arrangement has helped to raise the living standards of small-scale farmers by assuring them of a sustainable and ready market for their produce. In addition, Bidco Africa trains farmers in the production of oil seeds, which improves their yields and ultimately increases their incomes.

With the success of the oil seed business, Bidco believes the same model can be applied to other value chains, further enhancing the incomes and livelihoods of small-scale farmers while ensuring food security for an ever increasing population. Integral to the business strategy is the provision of training to smallholder farmers on modern farming methods, including best practices for planting in tropical climates, efficient utilization of land banks, proper chemical and fertilizer use, and business management.

Bidco's expansion plan also calls for the creation of 60,000 direct and indirect jobs, including input suppliers, distributors and other value-chain players by the end of 2019. Bidco Africa envisions approximately 40 per cent of these jobs will be held by women under these proposals.

Bidco's strategy of linking corporate growth with development goals � especially entrepreneurship and job creation and food security � goes to the heart of inclusive business, said Sabha Sobhani, BCtA's Acting Project Manager. We are pleased to welcome Bidco to the Business Call to Action and look forward to charting its growth in the years to come.

About Business Call to Action (BCtA):

The Business Call to Action challenges companies to advance core business activities that are inclusive of poor populations and contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals. Worldwide, 137 companies, from SMEs to multinationals, have responded to the BCtA by making commitments to improve the lives and livelihoods of millions through commercially-viable business ventures that engage low-income people as consumers, producers, suppliers, and distributors of goods and services.

The Business Call to Action is a unique multilateral alliance between key donor governments including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), UK Department for International Development (DFID), US Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Finland, and the United Nations Development Programme � which hosts the secretariat � in collaboration with leading global institutions, such as the United Nations Global Compact, and the Inter-American Development Bank's Opportunities for the Majority Initiative. For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org or on Twitter at @BCtAInitiative.

About Bidco Africa:

Bidco Africa Ltd is Kenya and East Africa's leading manufacturer of edible oils, fats and hygiene care products. Established in 1985 the company has manufacturing units in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and a footprint in 16 African countries.

Bidco is home to some of Kenya's most famous and loved brands such as Kimbo, Elianto, Golden Fry, Chipsy, Biddy's, Gaea, Powerboy and Gental.

Contact Information

Business Call to Action: Jeanne Finestone at jeanne.finestone@undp.org

Bidco: Pharis Kimaru at pharis.kimaru@bidcoafrica.com

Source: UNDP