Sustainable agroforestry in Kenya – APC leads the way

Kelvin S. Kaloki, Business Development Director, Africa Plantation Capital receives The New Business Of The Year Award from Hon. Peter Kenneth

Kenya is talking about the opportunity that lies in green projects. Agribusiness can produce very good returns and a sustainable income for many years.

But, for a green project to be successful, a lot of hard work, experience, investment and planning is required for it to be viable and profitable thanks to African Plantation Capital (APC) who, after two years in the region leads the way in sustainable agroforestry in Kenya.

Since 2002 when APC started its first agroforestry operations in Asia, it has always been part of its expansion plans to include Africa as one of the group’s main area of operations.

Almost 15 years later, an impressive growth has been achieved with operations in 17 countries around the world and a wide range of products and services that the group is offering.

2016 was a landmark year for APC Group as its initial plans to have became a reality. This was aided by the establishment of Africa Plantation Capital, beginning a new ERA with APC introducing its unique state of the art model of integrated agroforestry management to the Kenyan Market.

In May 2016 during a press conference to announce the company’s operations in Kenya and its official partnership with KEFRI, APC also announced its business plans for the group’s operations in Kenya including the establishment of 5000 acres of bamboo plantations, bamboo nurseries and processing facilities.

APC’s success is based on a unique model of plantation management. This includes a flexi Controlled Environment Agriculture (“CEA”) model. This is achieved using agricultural technology that enables the grower to manipulate a crop’s environment to the desired conditions.

Its flexi CEA technologies include greenhouses, multiplication processes, integrated irrigation systems and a 24/7 monitoring system controlled from APCs plantation management team. Controlled variables include temperature, humidity, pH, CO2 and nutrient analysis.

In a few words in APC is setting up plantations that depend as less as available rainfall, natural soil nutrients and extreme unexpected changes of climatic conditions such as is a period of draught.

It is also very important to mention the extensive research that APC is conducting before we choose a site for one of the plantations we are setting up.

From extensive soil tests to hydrological analysis and reports, to environmental assessments amongst others are important in producing the final site report that will be ideal for a successful project.

APC has been nominated and awarded several times, recognized for its contribution to sustainable forestry. It was not a surprise that APC was nominated for the New Business of the Year Award 2016 by the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce.

Africa Plantation Capital won the competition and on December 9, 2016 during the Awards ceremony became officially the Best New Business of the Year in Kenya.

It has established strong partnerships and relationships with local and international private and public entities creating a strong network which supports every venture that the group is setting up around the world. Over the years, APC has invested in creating unique value addition chains.

From tissue culture to end products, the group provides state of the art management. This is the source of power that boosted its growth over the last decade. Human resource is a key factor to APC’s success too.

The main asset of the group is the team of thousands of people working around the world to provide high standards, quality, meet deadlines, conduct research and provide innovation to the sustainable agroforestry business.

In Kenya just like elsewhere, Africa Plantation Capital has been following the same principals. Since the beginning of its projects in, the establishment of critical local partnerships was one of the main priorities. KEFRI, KAIG, KNCCI amongst others are some of the entities that are onboard supporting APCs projects in the country.

Bamboo is the main crop that APC is currently growing in Kenya.

Bamboo is known as the miracle crop and has been creating wealth for centuries especially in Asia. The variety of bamboo end products is what makes this grass unique. Bamboo can be used for construction, food, furniture, activated carbon, charcoal, fiber amongst many other uses.

The ideal time frame to start harvesting bamboo is by year five although a lot of people make the mistake and start harvesting earlier. That affects the growth potential of the grass and the yields provided. The yields produced and what you plan to do with your bamboo production is what will determine the expected returns.

It is not as simple as it sounds. You need to choose the correct species that will do well in the area where you have your farm. You need to spend time and resources in order to identify the ideal type of bamboo that will give you both great quality and good yields.

Another factor that plays a key role to the success of a bamboo plantation is the mode of cultivation that you will apply. Most of farmers prefer to choose the simplest way to grow bamboo; plant it and let it grow on its own depending on the rainfalls and its strong surviving characteristics.

This is the cheap way and definitely will not provide the best quality or yields. APC group follows a fully integrated cultivation model where our plantations are fully irrigated, monitored 24/7 by our scientists and experts, periodic soil tests are always conducted and monitoring the growth for any possible disease that could cause less growth or lower quality.

Obviously, the required investment for such an operation is many times higher than the first option. APC believes that in order to make money, you need to spend money. This is the reason that we only do large scale projects where investing in infrastructure will make financial sense because of the economy of scales.

The bamboo project which it is currently setting up in Kenya is estimated to start producing returns from year five with an average net projected returns ARR of 27.97% and accumulated net profit returns in the 25 years project period of 699.33% as our minimum projections.

These numbers are subject to the market conditions and are based on minimum price of sale and minimum yields that have been provided after relevant research for specific type of bamboo in the specific area we are planting, using our model and for end product being the bamboo fiber.

Having a fully prepared and integrated business plan is the way APC Group has been successfully operating over the years and Africa Plantation Capital’s project in Kenya is following the same pattern.

APC has always been operating without using finance. The projects have to be self-funded and sustainable. Part of what we do is to manage plantations for third parties. So partnerships are APC’s preferred model for expansion.

In Kenya APC gives the opportunity to local investors to join the company in local projects. That is a turnkey business solution, a hands free opportunity to participate in a green income producing project fully managed by one of the top plantation management teams in the world.

It is also an opportunity to invest a small amount while you take advantage of the economy of scales that a large scale project provides. Owning the asset, which is the land as APC provides freehold title deeds, is one more advantage of this pioneer project.

Knowledge, experience, research, human resources and global networking are the ingredients that make APC’s projects so lucrative and interesting. It is important to mention that APC considers every partner equally important despite the size or the form that one decides to participate in the project.

This is an amazing opportunity for every Kenyan, individual, company, CHAMA or SACCO to secure a steady income in USD for many years while achieving capital growth with the asset ownership.

APC group, an international group of companies saw the opportunity that lies in Kenya’s agroforestry sector and decided to invest time and money into it.

Now, APC is giving the same opportunity to all interested parties to become part of this venture that is changing Kenya’s economy and environment.

Green projects are the future for prosperity and a better life. Bamboo – Ecofriendly sustainable projects are the future.

Africa Plantation Capital is offering local as well as international projects, fully licensed, following International standards of management, ISO certified and secure.