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‘Stretching the rains’ wins Kenyan business a global CSR award Kakuzi Plc wins GLOBALG.A.P. award for sustainable water use

Kakuzi won an important international award this year, when they were announced as winners for their sustainable use of water at the GLOBALG.A.P. Summit in October 2014 –one of only four certified growers to win an award.

‘Stretching the rains’ sees Kakuzi passionately using, monitoring and accounting for each drop of rain.
With Kakuzi responsible for more than 7,000 employees and dependents, a GLOBALG.A.P.-certified avocado plantation of 400 hectares, a macadamia orchard of 600 hectares, pineapple operations and a staggering 4,200 heads of cattle – finding a sustainable water source was a significant challenge.

And with no main river, lake or any other natural water source on the farm, Kakuzi became obsessive about capturing rainwater. They proactively developed a series of dams to harness rainwater, which was directed into filtration traps and then ‘stored’ in the soil for future use.

Trapped in a battery of 16 gaping earth pans, there is now enough water to irrigate all the crops and cattle; while an unplanned, but positive, outcome is the abundance of wildlife - with crocodiles, hippopotamuses, birds and all sorts of aquatic life now making the dams their home. Kakuzi has seen true biodiversity improvement come to life.

Meanwhile, the avocado and macadamia orchards using this water have become air purifiers - the trees act as a carbon sink, wind speed is controlled, a healthy natural environment is created and so the hydrologic cycle is completed.

In terms of our employees and their dependents, rainwater harvesting from roofs is an age-old practice that provides additional water to housed employees, while potable drinking water from boreholes is recharged through our rain-stretching activities. However, it is the training we have provided all employees on water usage and saving that has had the biggest impact – and we even see office gardens now planted with succulent shrubs.

Graham McLean, MD of our Agriculture Division, including Kakuzi commented: “We are delighted to win this award in recognition of all the hard work we have put into improving our water sources. As we start to see the wider benefits of ‘stretching the rains’, I believe there is enough water to meet ecological, private, agricultural, and business needs – if only everyone would take a responsible and obsessive attitude to looking after it – whether on the surface, sub-surface or underground aquatic resources”.

Dr. Kristian Moeller, Managing Director GLOBALG.A.P. said: "GLOBALG.A.P. is proud to have received so many good applications for our third edition of the G.A.P. Awards. I would like to thank all those who applied for their effort and dedication. Congratulations to the winners and an applause to all the applicants, whose profiles we have published throughout the year in our monthly newsletter and on our website."