LishaBora provides innovative animal feeds and service delivery for Kenya's smallholder farmers.
The feed solution making smallholder dairy farming more fertile in Kenya.
Millions of households in Kenya rely on milk production as their main source of income. However, many of these smallholder dairy farmers—often with no more than three cows—struggle to record profits. This is partly due to low quality feed options that are costly and unregulated.
LishaBora is an innovative and vertically-integrated feeds producer enhancing the way rural dairy farmers operate. Through a forward-thinking approach to feed production and delivery, LishaBora increases net income for clients by an average of 80%.
With around 1.8 million dairy farmers in Kenya, the smallholder and rural dairy industry is a significant pillar of many local economies. Kenya maintains the largest dairy industry in Africa.
Although it is vital, the sector faces challenges in production efficiency. Farmers are estimated to produce around one third of their actual capability. This results in a loss of potential income of $1,000 USD per cow each year. For perspective, many of these farmers earn less than $2 USD per day.
The structural challenges facing dairy farmers are threefold:
- Dairy meal is highly expensive.
- Current feeds are of inherently poor quality.
- There is significant mistrust in the market. Many farmers produce their own feeds to avoid the high costs associated with low quality product, adding to their operational workload and contributing to overall production inefficiency.
As a result, farmers make minimal margins despite the intensive work efforts involved in producing 5-6 litres of milk per day, per cow.
LishaBora established the blueprint for a better solution to small holder cattle feed production in 2015. After securing investment, EWB support has empowered LishaBora to:
- Conduct essential research and development through the venture’s early founding-stage
- Commence the production of multiple feed production systems and green houses
- Engage in product development, market research, and impact assessment
- Scale vertically by partnering to supply the solution to larger, more established service networks
We also united to bolster LishaBora’s operations and ongoing development with expertise and mentorship. This included embedding three long-term Fellows, one Professional Fellow and one Junior Fellow to assist with networking and technological development.
“My greatest achievement to date has been construction of our second [greenhouse] system, which is now feeding thirty cows.”
– David Lipinski, April 2016, EWB Long-Term Fellow with LishaBora.
Additionally, a LishaBora portfolio manager offers dedicated advice on financial and business strategy.
Improved agricultural inputs. Greater economic outputs.
By producing barley fodder in feed production systems and greenhouses, LisahBora sells high quality feed options at a much lower cost than competing suppliers.
These systems produce larger quantities of more nutritious inputs – quickly and in any seasonal conditions.
LishaBora feed inputs are germinated, planted and grown for nine days. The process requires very little space, time, water and fertilizer when compared to conventional farming methods, making it both environmentally and economically sustainable.
With less resources involved in the production of feed, the unit cost is greatly reduced for farmers.
The natural, organic plants are more palatable for cows and stacked with higher levels of nutrients and protein. As a result, they create higher levels of milk production, and larger profit margins for smallholder farmers.
“Milk production for cows is improved by up to 30% over current feed inputs, while significantly reducing cost and effort for farmers.”
LishaBora’s production systems are based close to the farmers, further reducing costs associated with logistics and distribution.
Today, LishaBora operate multiple greenhouse systems. Each greenhouse has a production capacity of over 500 kilograms of feed per day, directly contributing to the improved operation of between 30 and 50 farming trades.
Key outcomes since EWB investment.
Scaling operations through partnership with Palmhouse Dairies Limited.
Palmhouse Dairies Limited is a large Kenyan dairy supplier processing over 10,000 litres of milk per day. After consolidating a partnership, LishaBora has successfully scaled to distribute their feed solution to Palmhouse partners, selling to a wide member network and cultivating usage data to further hone their operations.
Selected for the 2016 Unreasonable Institute, East Africa.
The Unreasonable Institute is an annual five-week workshop program connecting innovative businesses with mentors and potential funders. Carefully selected, high-potential companies are equipped with a platform for mentorship and networking to continue their developmental trajectories.
Winner of Kenya Climate Innovation Centre’s $20K grant to expand capacity and test new products.
With further funding secured, LishaBora is well equipped to scale and poised to develop additional services. At full potential, the venture plans to spread across Africa to offer all-in-one health and feed solutions, coupled with education around cow health and brokering, to return vitality to the smallholder dairy sector.