The combination between making good use of the high amount of coconut husk waste that is being produced in Coastal Kenya and the need for coco peat among horticulture growers. That was the reason for James Kapombe to establish his own company Cocogrow in 2018, sourcing coco peat locally. Right after the establishment, the company was awarded as one of the 15 most promising startups and demand quickly surpassed the supply. The business is expanding and recently, Kapombe has been nominated for Foya Awards Agripreneur of the year (under 30, Kenya). "Our major focus is to be a plant propagation company offering propagation solutions."
The majority of the coco peat in Kenya is imported from India and Sri Lanka, but with his production facility, Kapombe is eager to change these figures in the future. Over the last years, since the establishment of his company (read more about it in our article that we published right after the establishment on FloralDaily.com), he expanded and started to supply more and more growers in Kenya with his locally sourced and produced coco peat.
Besides that, he is busy with many more projects, like bio conversion of cocos "The conventional process of buffering uses up a lot of water which is unsustainable hence we are working trials on bio composting of the raw cocos."
And his work hasn't gone unnoticed. Recently, he has been nominated for the Foya Awards Agripreneur of the year (under 30, Kenya) Foya Awards is an annual awards ceremony launched in November 2016 and exists to recognize and appreciate young founders contributing to the development of the African continent while creating sustainable jobs through entrepreneurship and inspiring others to start their own businesses.
"So far, it has been an amazing 2 years, we made a lot of mistakes but we have learnt a lot. COVID 19, for example, was a challenge, but it helped us to review our business strategy, processes and sustainability. There was an increasing demand from home gardeners, people were home and slowly picked up gardening. These small growers sustained us through the tough period when production in flower and ornamental had stalled. It's an market segment we would love to pursue in the short term but our major focus is to be a plant propagation company offering propagation solutions. All in all, we learnt quite a lot from our customers, partners and we are excited about the future."