Model & Strategy
Low, erratic rainfall and degraded, infertile soil present critical challenges to families living on less than $1/day and struggling to survive as subsistence farmers. Komaza is a social enterprise that works to break this poverty cycle among rural dryland families in East Africa through agroforestry programs. Millions of African families struggle to survive by farming traditional food crops ill-suited to their semi-arid environments. Komaza provides an innovative alternate approach by which families can generate life-changing income through sustainable high-value tree farming. For example, Eucalyptus trees are a drought tolerant, fast growing, pest resistant, highly profitable cash crop. Komaza provides training, planting inputs (such as seedlings, seeds and fertilizers), ongoing maintenance support, logistic consultation in harvesting and sales, and extended financial guidance and business advice.
Tevis Howard’s enthusiasm and vision for KOMAZA grew out of several trips to Kenya doing malaria research in Kilifi, one of the poorest, least-developed and agriculturally inadequate districts in Kenya. He spent 10 years building KOMAZA. Tevis was an award-winning science nerd in his youth, and earned a B.Sc. in Neuroscience from Brown University. He has since been recognized by several leading impact investors and was named as a Forbes 30 Under 30 social entrepreneur. Tevis has also been awarded the Rainer Arnhold Fellowship, the Pop!Tech Social Innovation Fellowship and the 2010 Social Venture Network (SVN) Innovation Award for his vision and work with KOMAZA. He has also published articles in several major scientific journals.
Low, erratic rainfall and degraded, infertile soil present critical challenges to families living on less than $1/day struggling to survive as subsistence farmers.
To date, Komaza has planted 5,000 hectares of high-value trees with over 20,000 farmers living in degraded drylands. In 2020, Komaza aims to plant additional 2,000 hectares in Coastal Kenya, while expanding into Central Kenya.