Based in the Kwale region of Kenya, Coconut Holdings Limited (CHL) produces certified organic and Fairtrade coconut oil and associated products for the local market. CHL creates substantial value for its farmer suppliers and employees. For example, it guarantees farmers a fixed price that is, on average, 50% higher than the market price. CHL also provides technical assistance to its suppliers at its own expense, helping them access and maintain organic and Fairtrade certifications.
According to a survey of more than 300 farmers affiliated with CHL—carried out by CHL’s lender and CSAF member Alterfin—the enterprise offers substantial value to its suppliers, not just in terms of income, but resilience. More than 86% of those surveyed said it would be “difficult” or “impossible” to find a viable alternative to CHL, and 96% reported that CHL enabled them to increase their profit. Farmers who have previously faced an income shock (such as drought, pests, or disease) are 30% more likely to report that, without CHL, farming would not be profitable for them. What’s more, 72% of surveyed farmers report that CHL has helped them reduce the impact of climate change on their farming.
Alterfin has played a pivotal role for CHL. Before Alterfin’s first loan to the business in 2017, CHL worked with 700 farmers and had no external source of financing. Alterfin’s initial loan contributed to rapid growth and has attracted other leading impact investors, including Acumen, Alpha Mundi, DOB Equity, and EquaLife Group. CHL now works with more than 3,200 farmers and employs 149 workers, 42% of whom are women. According to Kyle Denning, CHL’s CEO, “Alterfin made CHL more credible to other lenders… which enabled us to attract new sources of financing.”