The goal of the Kenya Market-led Horticulture Project (KMHP) – also known as HortIMPACT – was to contribute to increased food security, increased incomes and a dynamic and sustainable horticulture sector in Kenya. KMHP was funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN) in Kenya and implemented by a consortium consisting of SNV (as lead agency), Delphy, HIVOS and Solidaridad East and Central Africa. KMHP focussed on private sector development to (1) strengthen entrepreneurial capacities and performance of small and medium sized farmers and companies, and (2) address systemic challenges related to food safety and food losses in the horticulture sector as well as inclusion of small and medium sized farmers in market-oriented supply chains. The project closely cooperated with Dutch and Kenyan entrepreneurs and made use of their advanced technologies, products and market linkages in business cases and through specific innovations.
The design of the project was based on a robust Theory of Change that has a dual focus of private sector development next to establishment of an enabling policy and institutional environment. The evaluation established proof of concept for this approach.
Private sector initiative and innovation were central to the project’s design. This created – otherwise often rare – space for private sector actors for pilots and experiments with new innovative and often as yet untested technologies or services. Establishing proof of concept of such innovative solutions indeed opened the gateway to a more widespread adoption by market actors and may eventually lead to systemic change. It was further concluded that the business case project model can indeed be an effective way to connect private businesses with SME farmers and companies for inclusive value chain development in horticulture as well as to resolve challenges in areas of food safety and food losses. Confirming the logic behind the ToC, challenges in upscaling of business cases showed that business cases must be complemented and balanced with interventions that aim to create an enabling environment with institutions, organisations, policies, and regulations whereby public, private and civic actors collaborate towards realisation of the shared goals. While the implementation phase was quite short the cases that were studied in more detail provided anecdotal evidence pointing towards a potential contribution to systemic change with time.