Grow with developing countries, including those in Africa, and endeavor to solve social issues through business operations
The Toyota Tsusho Group undertakes local infrastructure development, industrial development, job creation, and other measures to solve social issues in developing countries in Africa and other regions through its automobile business and other business activities.
In Kenya, for example, we worked as a strategic business partner in a national project aimed at supporting the realization of the country's national vision. We used the results as a pilot model to promote the autonomy of local residents and to support the growth of the Toyota Tsusho Group through initiatives such as improving living environments by developing basic infrastructure and providing opportunities for occupational training.
Creating fertilizer and contributing to agriculture in Kenya based on the principle of "WITH AFRICA FOR AFRICA"
Land area does not necessarily correlate with agricultural yield. This was proven in Kenya, a major agricultural country in Africa, which exports large amounts of flowers and tea leaves.
In Kenya, while crops such as corn and wheat are cultivated as major agricultural products, the 600,000 tons of chemical fertilizer used annually to grow these crops had been completely imported. Moreover, although crops such as corn grow best in weakly acidic soil, the repeated use of low-cost chemical fertilizer resulted in increased soil acidification, causing productivity to decrease to below half of previous levels.
The annual GDP growth rate of Kenya is approximately 5%, and this economic development has meant that increasing proportions of people are working in secondary and tertiary industries. Despite this, farmers still account for approximately 60% of the working population. Based on a sense of crisis resulting from the thinning land and weakening agricultural industry, the Kenyan government required the cooperation of domestic and international corporations in constructing its first domestic agricultural fertilizer plant.
Toyota Tsusho responded to this call, and is supporting the realization of the Kenyan government's national vision, "Kenya Vision 2030." The construction of a fertilizer plant is also part of this, with a memorandum of understanding concluded for fertilizer manufacturing in 2014. Toyota Tsusho Fertilizer Africa Limited (TTFA) was established as a wholly owned subsidiary.
TTFA immediately started developing blended fertilizer suited to Kenyan soil and crops in collaboration with the International Fertilizer Development Center and the agricultural faculty of a local university. Trials were conducted at approximately 200 farms, resulting in the development of Baraka Fertilizer, a brand of blended fertilizer (the name of which means "benefit" in Swahili). Based on soil testing results, advice was given on when and how much fertilizer to apply, and guidance officers for farming methods were trained, including some interns from the agricultural faculty.
Japanese staff carefully managed the schedule for plant construction to ensure that there were no delays. The plant was completed as planned, in one year, with the production of Baraka Fertilizer starting from 2016. This resulted in recovery of corn yields to previous levels. Agricultural productivity in Kenya has thus been improved. Toyota Tsusho is continuing to support Kenyan agriculture, having completed the development of fertilizers for pulses and sugarcane, with sales already started. These efforts have been highly praised by local farmers.
Annual demand for fertilizer in Kenya is predicted to increase from 600,000 tons to 1.5 million tons. Toyota Tsusho will utilize its automobile sales network that it has cultivated over many years to promote sales, with possibilities for sales and exports to neighboring countries as well, in order to contribute to the stable supply of food and economic development.