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AgVenture Project Advances: Upfield Continues Support for Sustainable Canola Farming in Africa

AgVenture Project Advances: Upfield Continues Support for Sustainable Canola Farming in Africa


AgVenture Project Advances: Upfield Continues Support for Sustainable Canola Farming in Africa

Upfield supports sustainable agriculture practices in Africa by partnering with AgVenture, a farmer-owned project.

Established in 2010, AgVenture enhances smallholder farmers' knowledge of the benefits of conservation farming and supports them with the understanding of expert agronomists from the beginning of their journey with the initiative.

Additionally, AgVenture commits to buying the canola that the smallholders produce to assure market and economic returns. This project has enabled farmers in Kenya to implement conservation agriculture techniques that build soil health, increase resilience, and diversify incomes.

Upfield’s partnership with AgVenture promotes several sustainable practices to reduce environmental impact. Farmers need to implement zero or minimal tillage, controlled traffic farming, and diversified crop rotation to improve soil structure and moisture retention. This leads to better yields, fewer inputs, and resilience against pests, diseases, and rainfall variability.

As part of producing delicious and nutritious plant-based products, Upfield sources high-quality canola oil from AgVenture farmers to include in products like BlueBand, providing sources of essential plant-based omega 3 and 6. By purchasing canola and supporting conservation farming, Upfield also enables steady incomes for local farmers. Their livelihoods are strengthened through access to markets, technologies, and technical knowledge.

So far, the programme has impacted thousands of smallholder farmers from Nakuru, Laikipia, Meru, and Isiolo counties in Kenya. They have witnessed how canola contributes to the higher efficiency of land, water, and input use.

There is evidence of Upfield’s and AgVenture's partnership benefitting local farmers through increased rooting depth, improved soil health, expanded moisture-holding capacity, reduced rainfall dependence, and more stable yields. Additionally, the smallholder farmers that work with AgVenture have confirmed that between 50 and 150 days, they are having impressive returns, even after deducting cost inputs compared to other yields.

This project ensures a traceable, sustainable supply chain from African smallholders. It also strongly aligns with Upfield's Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Pillars and Commitments as we work to improve nutrition and enhance livelihoods in local communities.

Upfield and AgVenture’s partnership demonstrates how businesses can drive positive social and environmental progress through sustainable sourcing and empowering farmers. As the project continues to scale, it serves as a model for putting Upfield's Purpose into Action.

Credit: BBC