GREENPATH FOODS IS A SPECIALTY FOOD COMPANY that produces and sources premium, organic food products through a network of smallholder Partner Farms across East Africa. GreenPath manages a fully integrated supply chain that supplies farmers with inputs, financing, training, and technical support. The company creates sustainable supply chains for its global customers by aggregating, purchasing, processing, and selling the farmers’ products. Through farmer service centers and by offering permaculture training and food system education, GreenPath is growing more than food, they are growing a network of sustainable farms and livelihoods for thousands of smallholder farmers.
WHENEVER POSSIBLE, GREENPATH USES crops native to Ethiopia, such as varieties of chilies, korermina, and beso bella. Buyers’ feedback has been positive, with some of their native crops being among the most popular.
Many buyers consider EU Organic Certification a proxy for ensuring that GreenPath is meeting basic standards for environmental responsibility and land preservation. Beyond “only organic” farming practices, the company also trains farmers on intercropping and integrated pest management.
In addition, farmers have used natural barrier fencing or “trap crops” to deter pests; for example, farmers planted beans on the edges of their farms so pests would eat those rather than the primary crops planted in the interior.
THE GREENPATH FOOD MODEL favors long-term, sustainable solutions that combat climate change. In contrast to large-scale industrial agriculture, which often favors monoculture and commodity crops, the company works with existing smallholder farmers to improve their planting practices and facilitate organic production.
Specifically, planting practices inspired by permaculture mean that farms more naturally resemble forests, or “food forests.” The perennial crop focus conservesbiodiversity and helps sequester carbon. Regenerative agriculture practices such as intercropping mean that soil is renewed with nutrients, not depleted. Integrated pest management via crops such as lavender mean that farmers don’t need to spray chemicals and pesticides that harm waterways and wildlife. Organic solutions are sprayed as a last result. All of this increases productivity long-term, as soil health improves and pollinators are invited to thrive.
If weather, pests, or other climatic shocks hit a farm that is using these practices, it’s unlikely that all crops would be lost. Diverse farms are more resilient and sustainable.
Renewable energy is integrated into every part of theirsupply chain where possible, including at the processing and storage facilities. At our solar-powered drying structure, we have shifted from reliance on the electric grid and aim for 100% utilization of the sun’s natural energy.
GreenPath is currently working on rolling out solar irrigation pumps to all of its farmers. GreenPath was recently awarded a P4G partnership grant alongside TechnoServe, HelloSolar, and SunCulture. This grant will fund TechnoServe to hire a personnel resource to support partner coordination and government sensitization required to rollout a solar pump program for GreenPath. Notably, this will include investment in a market assessment and business model development for HelloSolar (who will distribute pumps to Partner Farms on trade credit) and SunCulture (who will deliver smallholder appropriate pumps to HelloSolar) to demonstrate the opportunity and cement their interest in investing in Ethiopia.