Hand in Hand teams up with IKEA Foundation on planet-positive agriculture

01 Dec 2020

Janet Chepkwony, a Hand in Hand IKEA project member from Bomet County, Kenya.

With the right mindset, turning a profit and restoring the environment can be one and the same. That’s why Hand in Hand and the IKEA Foundation are teaming up to help smallholder farmers in Kenya become leaders in planet-positive agriculture, equipped with the training and tools to lift themselves out of poverty, reverse environmental degradation and show their neighbours there’s a better way to farm.

The problem

Agriculture employs 70 percent of the rural Kenyans and contributes 26 percent of the country’s annual GDP. But most farmers lack the money, skills and tools they need to get the most out of their land and are forced to use practices that damage the environment, make the soil less fertile and threaten the future of their food systems.

Already, more than a third of Kenyan farmers grow crops on degraded land, costing the national economy an estimated US $1.3 billion a year. Unless we act now, more land will be damaged and productivity will continue to fall, breaking the backbone of Kenya’s economy while causing untold damage to its food systems and natural environment.

Our solution

With support from the IKEA Foundation, Hand in Hand will train 1,600 smallholder farmers in regenerative and circular practices to increase productivity and reduce poverty.

Regenerative agriculture favours practices such as crop rotation and using organic fertilisers that help restore soil and water systems, ensuring farms remain sustainable long into the future. Circularity means reusing essential resources like water and natural fertiliser, cutting down on agricultural waste and encouraging vibrant local economies, independent from global demand. Together, they comprise a transformative approach to agriculture that does good for farmers and for the environment.

To help take this transformative approach to scale, Hand in Hand will generate evidence and spread project learning to its network of 250,000 smallholder members countrywide. At the same time, it will empower its core group of 1,600 planet-friendly farmers to be grassroots advocates for regenerative and circular practices at the local and regional levels.

The three-year, US $2.5 million project concludes in September 2023.

Why the IKEA Foundation is supporting the project

The IKEA Foundation is supporting Hand in Hand to test, share and scale up planet-positive farming methods so that smallholder farmers can earn a decent income and protect the planet, while laying the foundations for future efforts to promote this approach to farming across Kenya.

By the numbers

Project goal: 1,600 members trained in planet-positive agriculture

Project duration: 3 years

Project cost: US $2.5 million