Meet Jedida, the founder of Vikara Agrihub, transforming small scale farmers in rural Kilifi.



2022 Governors Startup Challenge Finalist, Jedida Kimanthi is Transforming small scale farmers in Coastal Kenya by equipping them with a technology led agricultural education, inputs and market linkages for improved productivity and steady livelihoods


What is the story behind starting your business/idea?

Having grown in the village my mother and her aunties survived purely by being small scale farmers. The rains were never sufficient and thus rain fed agriculture was never sustainable. My mother and her friends had only one option that worked and that was keeping local chicken. She would sell five to ten chicken every time we needed to go back to school and with that, she would easily get us through high school and college.


Whenever the perennial diseases came most of the chicken would die and my mother was never tired of starting again, and that became the cycle. Years later after I completed my university education, my passion for poultry agriculture came and this time I thought of not only producing for myself but also for the market. However, with the small numbers that I had I could not satisfy the market in terms of number of chickens required. I thus developed the Kuku SACCO business that not only helps my mother but also many other small-scale farmers in my rural village. This has grown tremendously and every day I receive farmers who want to enrol in our program.


What is unique about your business and what service or solution does it offer?

A typical woman in my village keeps between 10 and 15 chicken at any given time owing to the space of their homestead as well as affordability of feeds and medication. With this they are not able to satisfy the market while producing in their silos.


The lack of adequate agricultural education, timely inputs and medication for their chicken is their main undoing in their business. This is made worse by the lack of a promising market for their produce.


My business fills in this gap by providing agriculture education within the poultry space, provision of locally made feeds as well as medication and our core business that lies in linking them with the market through our aggregation model. With this we can reach out to big markets and sustain our supplies year in year out.


All our activities are technology enabled as our mobile app (Vikara AgriApp) helps in pushing agricultural education lessons, management of our SACCO membership, accounting as well as connecting with the market


How does your business help the community around you?

The ability to connect my community to the market is a big plus since now they continue doing their

small scale farming of poultry and we connect them with the market. With the loyalty that they are creating with us they have started benefitting from small loans that enable them to ensure that their chicken have feeds and medication. They are also now doing a more informed agriculture from the education we provide to them.


Through this the household income has improved and women are now able to take care of their children nutrition, education and healthcare in general hence having economically empowered women.


What challenges have you experienced since you started your business?

Getting small-scale farmers buy in into our solution has not been easy mainly for them to understand the concept of a SACCO that doesn’t involve money but a share is in form of a chicken. Additionally getting commitment from the market mainly on the numbers required has been a big initial impediment to our commitment to the farmers.


Our other main challenge has been on the survival rates of new breeds of local chicken due to their management requirements and feeding programs.

Despite these challenges we have devised ways of mitigating against them as well as come up with solutions to address the same.


How did you feel when you were selected to participate in GSC2022?

Getting an affirmation that my solution to the communities in rural coastal Kenya is competitive in the development world gave me a great feeling not only to continue serving the immediate community but also scaling up to other communities and regions soon. I am hopeful that through this program of GSC2022 I would learn, network, and engage with the right team to help in the growth of my venture.


Please share any transforming story you’ve experienced so far.

Kadzo is a part of the many small-scale farmers in Kilifi and lives in a village where she has her small farm and keeps a handful of chicken. For some time, I had wondered why Kadzo could not make use of her chicken project to fulfil her dreams but she told me that she didn’t have agricultural education neither did she have access to farm inputs that would help her to grow her production. She further told me that she did not have enough number of chickens to sustain the market.


I thus developed a KUKU SACCO Society where Kadzo and her friends could become members using the number of chickens they had. Our KUKU SACCO brings together 200 small scale farmers who produce at their rate, and we aggregate the produce to meet market demands.


Fast forward, Kadzo enrolled in SACCO members, and we started providing agricultural education, inputs and constant follow-up. At Vikara Hub we provided Kadzo and her friends with interactive practical Agricultural lessons, made use of basic English and we recruited Kadzo to be part of our trainers.


Kadzo and her friends are now part of our team of 20 trainers. Kadzo and her friends once told me that our easy to join model, non-monetary membership and trust made her talk to her friends to be a part of our current 300 farmers


Currently we have Kadzo and her other 300 farmers who produce chicken and have signed a loyalty agreement which guarantees them a steady market for their chicken. Our goal is to get Kadzo and her friends scale their production and make our Hub more attractive to the market as well as create value addition products. Our team is always ready to turn around any investment towards producing more Kadzo’s.


What plans do you have to expand your business?

The full development of our mobile app is top on our plan as it directly affects the growth of our business. Additionally, the growth in the number of farmers we get contributes to the success of our work as well as our satisfaction of the market demands.


Having good traction as of now we feel that we can scale up to other regions within the coast region as a six-month plan.


Lastly strengthening our staff base by filling in our marketing department as well as volunteers is a part of our growth strategy.


How should people reach out to you if they want your services?

Through my mobile numbers 0710310052/0797255575, email vikarahub@gmail.com, facebook: www.facebook.com/vikarahub


What is your message to young people out there?

To be keen in looking for opportunities and gaps in their communities where they can use what is in their power to bring changes.


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