Hivos International

Sustainable and Secure Smallholder Systems @ scale


Kenya and Uganda

Hivos and ECOM Agroindustrial Corporation in East Africa are teaming up in a public–private partnership to create viable coffee-based farming systems for 80,000 farmers in the region. ECOM is one of the world’s largest commodity trading and processing companies in coffee and provides technical support to smallholder coffee farmers.

This will be done by intensifying and expanding ongoing farmer support in Good Agricultural Practices and climate adaptation. Farming households will also be helped to diversify their income through commercial dairy and biogas activities.

The five-year programme, also known as 4S@scale, will give high priority to drawing women and youth into economic activities that will help them generate independent incomes. At least half of the participants must be women and/or young people. The programme aims to build commercially viable models for creating effective farmer support systems that can be widely implemented, allowing ECOM to expand its activities independently in the future.

This work follows up six years of collaboration between Hivos, ECOM and Sustainable Management Systems (SMS) in Kenya, which developed an effective farmer training programme that is currently helping over 85.000 farmers improve coffee yields and quality and implement effective and transparent planning and governance systems.

From the second year, ECOM’s farmer-training subsidiaries Kawacom and Coffee Management Services will help roll out the 4S@scale comprehensive support system in Uganda and Kenya. Both adhere to ECOM’s policies for CSR and the Social and Environmental Management System.

Beyond our focus on the coffee value chain we have integrated renewable energy to provide solutions that contribute towards reduced workload for women and children in farming households and further provide access to bio-slurry that in turn reduces the application of chemical fertilizers and contributes to significant farm cost reduction. To achieve this, we have partnered with the Kenya Biogas Program and Biogas Solutions Uganda limited who lead sector development initiatives in Kenya and Uganda to go beyond generation of demand for Biogas technology to providing linkages to quality construction and support services within the coffee value chain.

Specific outcomes for the whole programme include:

  • Increased productivity of 80,000 smallholder farmers
  • Income diversification for all participants
  • Improved livelihoods of 40,000 women through greater income opportunities, less fuel collection and elevated social status
  • Independent income earning opportunities for young people in various rural sectors
  • Clean, reliable , cheap biogas for cooking and lighting for 3,600 households
  • Positive contribution to climate change mitigation from biogas digesters
  • SMS, Kawacom and CMS to become unsubsidized operations that can guarantee extension services, marketing and agro-investment support beyond the duration of the public–private partnership.



€ 16.296.530
July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2018