Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Going Bananas

Going Bananas

Bananas were the first experiment in economic development and mission here at Kafakumba. Some call this model “business as mission;” Bill Gates calls it “creative capitalism” on behalf of poverty elimination; I call it “entrepreneurial humanitarianism.” Whatever you call it, Kafakumba is a vast experiment in alleviating poverty and teaching people about new life in Christ--the Kingdom of God. To this lofty end, John and Kendra Enright started partnerships in banana growing with over 100 local farmers and small entrepeneurs. The partnership works something like this: a small local landowner receives tissue cultures of banana trees, learns to prepare the soil, care for the plants and how to market them in training seminars, and finally shares monies from their harvest with Kafakumba, which then uses the money to enable more banana farmers to get a start. The percentage worked out to be 40-40-20, with landowners keeping 40% of their profits, 20% being dedicated to the on-going expenses of the crops, and 40% returned to Kafakumba for continued economic development. The training and community building of the banana partnerships proved that people could enjoy higher incomes, support smaller indigenous markets, share of their increase with others, and build community as well. Instead of selling to the larger grocery stores, Kafakumba bananas are provided at lower cost to many women, who go out and sell them at roadside and other local markets. This income is a steady step-up for these women and the families they support. Focusing their crops on these ordinary people is part of the philosophy of John and Kendra and a key principle of “serving the least” that they are building into Kafakumba. The amazing thing is how huge these bananas grow and how profitable they can be. However, since bananas have only a five year life-cycle, Kafakumba is diversifying into many more agricultural projects. But for jump-starting this whole idea of business as mission, going bananas was a great way to start.


Dave Inskeep said...

Dear Gina,
I appreciate your updates and look forward to your next one. I especially appreciated the bananas blog because I am a great believer in teaching people how to produce there own living and food.
Thanks again,
Dave Inskeep

Lorna Jost said...

Dear Gina - Thanks so much for your wonderful stories of your time! I am amazed how missionaries are so very resourceful and can use their God-given talents when called upon to do so!

The bananas look very tasty!

Curious as to when you return? Would you like to tell your story of your time in Africa at the teachUM Fair in Gary? June 15-19? Let me know! Thanks !

Pat said...

Hi Gina & Alan,
I have been very interested in your safety and concern for your health. Hope Alan cut on back of his leg is healing.
Really enjoying your pictures and your sharing of your experiences.
You are in our prayers..God Bless

Pat & Ted