KWS, Bidco pen deal to support communities living adjacent to wildlife
The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and BIDCO Africa Ltd have signed a partnership that will see communities living adjacent to protected areas prone to human-wildlife conflict benefit from growing sunflowers and keeping bees.
KWS Director General Brig (Rtd.) John M. Waweru expressed the agency’s commitment to seeing the project come to fruition.
According to him, having communities benefit directly from living adjacent to wildlife helps obtain their support.
“Human Wildlife Co-existence will be amplified if communities have a sense of ownership, and benefit from proximity to wildlife,” he said on Monday.
The DG explained that KWS would buy sunflower seeds from or through BIDCO and appealed to other partners to consider providing beehives due to financial constraints on the ground.
Bidco Africa Group Director Chris Diaz said the company’s main objective is to work with communities, adding that their agribusiness-driven project has a membership of 30,000 farmers who grow sunflower and soya to sell back to BIDCO.
This he said is to ensure that revenues are ploughed back into communities to develop their livelihoods.
“Seeds are taken to Nakuru for oil extraction, and the cake is made into animal feeds, as such, that BIDCO also boosts agriculture business by providing high-nutrition feeds to all types of farm animals,” he expounded.
During the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at KWS headquarters, the two leaders also agreed to bring on board other partners such as Kenya Commercial Bank Foundation, which trains and develops entrepreneurs.
Under the deal, BIDCO will be providing an off-take market for all sunflowers grown by communities; undertaking the training and sensitization on sunflower farming to communities; ensuring prompt payment of harvested and delivered flowers to farmers and connect communities to a honey value chain player (Agriculture Venture Ltd.).
In turn, KWS will identify appropriate areas for location of projects and pilot them before scaling to other locations which experience serious Human Elephant Conflict such as Kimana and Loitoktok.
In 2020, KWS facilitated identification and mobilization of communities in the identified locations, and provided seeds to the farmers identified.
178 farmers were registered and the exercise is set to continue this week, targeting 300 farmers to take advantage of the planting season.
BIDCO Africa Ltd. is one of the largest manufacturers in the region, operating from 22 countries in Africa and employing thousands, especially women.
The company also grows roses for export and manufactures hygiene products, instant spaghetti, cooking oils and carbonated juices, among others.