LishaBora: Fostering Sustainable Agribusiness Practices Across the Kenyan Dairy Value Chain

LishaBora empowers smallholder dairy farmers through high quality inputs and best farming practices using our mobile business management app

Photo of David Lipinski
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

LishaBora Ltd.

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Start-Up (a pilot that has just started operating)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $100k - $250k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 500 - 1,000

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water

Headquarters location: Country

  • Kenya

Headquarters location: City


Location(s) of impact

Kenya: Kiambu, Githunguri, Kambaa, Iriaini, Kagwe, Limuru, Uplands, Ikunu, Gatamayo


Facebook URL

Twitter URL

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

With over 2 million smallholder dairy farmers in Kenya contributing to 7% of Kenya’s 70 billion USD GDP, smallholder farmers are key players in Kenya’s agriculture industry and entire economy. However, these farmers are only managing to produce 30% of their cows’ milk potential due to high cost of inputs, poor access to market, and poor management practices resulting in them earning less than 2 USD per day. LishaBora is only company targeting stakeholders in the informal market and working along the entire value chain.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

LishaBora provides inputs and practices, and co-manages outputs for Kenya’s smallholder dairy farmers to enable more informed farm management and unlock banking and credit solutions. By sourcing quality-assured dry-feeds, we improve access to inputs and reduce costs for farmers. By engaging our customers with best farming practices and forage management, we ensure their cow’s productivity is not hindered by forage shortages or preventable diseases. To scale our high-quality feeds alongside our forage and farming management, we partner with milk traders in the informal market where 70% of milk sales are generated. By formalizing and digitizing their milk collection process through LishaBora’s business management mobile application, we improve market access and provide credit solutions to farmers who previously had no financial history. LishaBora is the only company working throughout the entire dairy value chain, addressing the systemic reasons that keep smallholders trapped in poverty.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

LishaBora has impacted 657 farmers since its founding. An internal study conducted with a pool of farmers found that when they switched over to LishaBora’s dry-feed product paired with a measuring tool they saw an average increase of 78% in their net profits. Also, LishaBora has partnered with SPEN Kenya, a forage management company to understand its model. Studies from SPEN Kenya and USAID show farmers who store forage see their milk production increase from 60-190%. Storing forage has social impact including input cost reductions, but also has major environmental impacts. For every one ton of Napier grass stored saves 67 tons of water potential, crucial for the dry-season when farmers run out of grass. This reduces the need for dry feeds which have a high carbon footprint and are composed of unsustainable sources such as the depleting Omena fish from Lake Victoria. With traders no longer focused on repetitive accounting and payouts, we expect them to grow their businesses by 25-50%.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

LishaBora is funded through two impact investors Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB) and Hooge Raedt Social Venture (HRSV) having raised more than 350,000 USD in convertible debt and in-kind donations. After launching its business management mobile application in July 2017, LishaBora earns revenue through products and services sold to dairy farmers through our mobile app with a project revenue of 90,000 USD in 2017. To ensure long-term stability, we aim to have 100 traders using the app in two years. Every new trader gives us access to an average of 60 new farmers, where we anticipate 40 USD per farmer in monthly revenue and 1,640,000 USD in annual revenue after two years. Our break even point is forecasted in Q1 2019. (FY2017: Grant - 10 %, Impact Investors - 45%, Revenue - 45%).

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

LishaBora is the only company partnering with dairy traders, creating credit for both traders and farmers, and raising farmer income through high-impact products and services. Other similar startups would be iProcure, an agribusiness supply chain company, and Sidia, a business management company for entrepreneurial agri-vets, however, neither of these companies directly target dairy traders in the informal market. Dairy feed manufactures and distributors are direct competitors for our products.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

LishaBora was founded through Graham Benton living and working with smallholder farmers for four years with a previous venture where he was immersed with their daily hardships. Our co-founders are Graham as the aspirational ‘dreamer’ who generates new ideas, and builds connections, and David Lipinski as the practical ‘grounder’ who executes the field work, and communicates our ideas on paper. Originally started as a hydroponic fodder company, LishaBora’s mission is to improve the profitability and sustainability of smallholder dairy farming. Our latest “Aha!” moment was partnering with dairy traders, an untapped player in the informal market whose bookkeeping practices are manual and unorganized. By introducing our business management mobile application to dairy traders we can simultaneously improve their business practices while scaling our high-impact products and services to farmers.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Other


Join the conversation:

Photo of Rachael

Hi David and Graham

First of all, thanks so much for the comments on our project. Second, I am very interested in your work! A good chunk of my master’s work was on forages and integrated crop/livestock systems and I’ve done some work in East Africa - Kenya/Rwanda, and I think the integrated value chain approach you are taking is SPOT ON. I have seen so many failed projects that just tackle one piece of the change and such minimal change happens because the whole chain is not addressed. It is a massive undertaking and I hope we get to meet up at the finals so I can pick your brain for hours on it! At EarthEmpower we are trying something similar, from soil to market and everything in between.

So, I got a little confused because you mention sourcing high-quality dry feeds but then later mention the negative environmental impacts of dry-feeds. But also talk about the storage of their own forages. So are you combining a mix of people storing and making their own silage or hay? or mixing some silage with some dry feed? Are you mostly focused on Napier or mixing multiple species? Also curious if you are using some legume species? Also, I was wondering if the dairy farmers also grown maize or other crops than forage? So I am very nerdy agronomist and LOVE your project and think you are doing great work and hope the best for you and if you ever want to talk forages and crop/livestock systems in East Africa I would love to chat!

Photo of Hicham MESKHER

Hello dear @David Lipinski ; I just submitted a feedback. I am a fresher environmental engineer I really liked your your Idea and your solution.
Please take one minute from your time and evaluate mine it called BLOOMGREEN; please check @Organic waste collection, treatment and transformation. ;
I wish you best of Luck.