Horizon Business Ventures
Balancing community development and sustainability can sometimes seem mutually exclusive, but this enterprise demonstrates that conservation can be the path to resilient community livelihoods.
Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are a powerful instrument in the conservation toolkit as they offer a means of increasing the economic value -- and therefore perceived preservation value -- of forests without the need to fell trees.
Horizon Ventures is a business enterprise based in the South-West foothills of Mount Kenya founded with the goal of creating livelihood alternatives and adaptation to noticeable climate change in this water-stressed region. The entity spun out of a collaboration between the national development center Help Self Help Center (HSHC) and the Finish Embassy.
Its primary activity is to collect plant biomass from Kabaru forest community foragers and forest-adjacent small-holder farmers for the extraction and production of various essential and carrier oils for sale to Kenyan personal care and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Essential oils offer a compelling revenue stream to forest-adjacent communities to supplement comparatively high-input cost horticultural produce, while fetching a higher price and enjoying strong demand.
Conservation International’s investment of USD $260,000 into this company will double its distillation capacity by founding a new distiller and expanding the production area.
An investment in this model re-enforces support of protected areas via community intervention and maximizes potential conservation impact via the choice of value-chain, resulting in the following outcomes:
Re-enforcement of conservation support for 25870 Ha of protected forest through NTFP revenue streams to local communities
Re-enforcement of conservation support for 13900 Ha of Kabaru forest
Improvement of ~800 community livelihoods with climate-resilient and cost-effective revenue streams
Creating of 14 permanent jobs