The Land Accelerator has been held twice in Africa and will return to Nairobi for the third time in April 2021. The program will also be launching in South Asia in December 2020 and in Latin America in February 2021.
Pioneers in Africa’s restoration economy — whose companies directly heal degraded land by growing trees or helping farmers produce food more sustainably — are providing essential services in this time of crisis. Their unique supply chains connect rural landscapes to urban centers, allowing them to improve the health and productivity of agricultural land, stay strong in times of adversity and sustainably meet demand.
Here are four entrepreneurs whose businesses are improving the health or productivity of vital landscapes, while also serving their communities during the coronavirus pandemic:
Foli Ayivor: Putting a Freeze on Food Waste.
- Ayivor is the founder of Agromyx, an instant-food company in Accra, Ghana that purchases and processes excess produce from farmers that would otherwise rot, then freeze dries the fruits and vegetables.
- Recently, COVID-19 caused significantly more post-harvest losses. The government’s shelter-in-place policy disrupted traditional supply chains. Many farmers are finding it more difficult to find buyers for their produce, leaving their entire harvest — and income — rotting in their fields.
- Ayivor participated in WRI’s Land Accelerator in 2019, a training program for entrepreneurs like him “to create a new strategy and also a better understanding of my customer segment.
Lorna Omuodo: Creating Cleaner Air and Surfaces
- In Kenya, Lorna Omuodo’s company E-Moto helps low-income customers transition from cooking with firewood to clean-burning biofuel.
- Unlike most biofuels that use crops, Omuodo uses leftover sugarcane stalks that would otherwise go to waste.
- E-moto protects households from indoor air pollution, which kills 600,000 people annually in Africa, while also protecting Kenya’s forests by reducing demand for firewood.
- Omuodo, also a Land Accelerator alum, began her company in August 2019 by supplying 500 families per month, mostly in Kabaa, a town outside of Nairobi.
Said Twahir: Cooking a Solution to Deforestation
- Other Land Accelerator companies are deemed essential to the economy. Said Twahir runs Kencoco, a company in coastal Kenya that turns discarded coconut husks into deforestation-free, smoke-free charcoal briquettes for cooking.
- Twahir has shifted his focus from providing briquettes to hotels and restaurants to serving higher demand from households.
Edwin Kamau: Keeping the Fertilizer Coming
- Edwin Kamau is the founder of EcoH Holdings, a Kenyan company that converts organic waste into fertilizer pellets to help farmers enhance soil health and increase food production.
- He has received the government’s permission, as an essential service, to collect organic waste once a month to continue manufacturing and distributing fertilizer to local farmers.