Once Upon a Value Chain in Africa

There once was a rural village in Kenya.

It had no electricity. The 90 kilometres of dirt road which separated it from the nearest market town were pockmarked with holes and virtually unnavigable during the rainy season. The maize in its fields struggled to grow in soils that had been depleted of nutrients over generations and remained thirsty for water in what was a low-rainfall region.

Whatever harvest could be mustered was headed for an uncertain fate - the crops stored for eating were constantly at risk of being pillaged by pests and diseases and any surplus crops struggled to find a market with buyers (who even then might not have offered a fair price...).

Until recently, the description above could have been how many outsiders may have depicted the tiny Kenyan village of Endau, which is about a five hour drive from Nairobi on the way to Somalia.

Instead, my recent visit told a different story - one of transition, of opportunity and of (cautious) hope.

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