GreenPath: Scaling sustainable farming
Ethiopian startup GreenPath is removing barriers that are preventing the country’s millions of smallholder farmers from earning a livelihood. GreenPath’s approach to closed-loop organic permaculture and their full value chain support for farmers inspired EWB to become the single-largest investor in the venture in December 2016.
In 2017, 79 smallholder farmers partnered with GreenPath to become certified in organic permaculture. As a partner with GreenPath, farmers receive permaculture training, support in organic certification for their farms and an exclusive purchaser of their goods. GreenPath also manages local and international exports of the products from these farms.
Farmers now have a sustainable approach for growing crops and a reliable sales avenue to earn a livelihood. Partnering with GreenPath increased smallholder farmers’ monthly income tenfold. Not only did smallholder farmers’ monthly income increase, it also became a more stable revenue; instead of getting a yearly or seasonal income, they now have a weekly income they can count on.
For GreenPath, EWB’s initial investment helped the venture secure three additional grants. With additional funds, GreenPath can establish additional farming service centres (FSC), where they prepare seedlings, test new crops and pack and store produce, so they can increase the number of partner farms. They are also working to increase the number of farmers they are working with at their existing FSC to 175 from 79. With approximately 15 million smallholder farmers in Ethiopia, GreenPath has huge potential to improve smallholder farmers’ livelihoods and sustainable agriculture across the country.