Confronting the challenges of hunger and food sovereignty and improving production to create jobs necessitate a deep-rooted rethinking of how food is produced, distributed and consumed. In Kenya, agricultural sector faces a great challenge. At the moment, agricultural sector is struggling in an operating environment characterized by sluggish development, unsound infrastructure and flawed micro and macroeconomic policies, coupled with uncontrolled importation which chains to challenge business confidence. And yet the sector has a very bright future.
The billion dollar question is; how can food and agroindustry navigate way through the poor business environment towards the stronger growth that lies ahead? How can it find new strategies to profit through the current uncertainties while positioning and preparing for future opportunities? These questions are relevant for farmers and companies agroindustry.
Addressing a group of farmers in Narok, the QuipBank’s General Manager, Ms. Jeniffer Syombua, said improving food processing is critical to feeding the nation’s growing population. Kenya is capable of feeding the entire eastern and central Africa if only it can empower its youth and women to adopt the modern farming technologies. Although most of the time majority of Kenyans use markets to get most of their foods the lack of affordable nutritious offerings in the bazaar, equated to the wide-ranging availability of food that have harmful consequences on nutrition and health, is an indication that customers are not well served by producers. As a nation that depends on agriculture we must enhance value to farm produce, using cost effective processing technologies that can be implemented by small scale farmers and SMEs for production of diverse convenient foods.
The numerous advantages of this strategy cannot be overlooked. If it is adopted it will result to product revolution, value chain optimization and the use of locally produced ingredients. This will help us not to rely on imported food. We have been importing almost everything; from Rice (Pakistan) to Maize (South Africa). Some of the advanced technologies have taken into consideration the importance of proper diet toward encouraging health and wellness in the society.
In line with this, research institutes in Kenya such Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) in association with companies in this sector such as Quipbank carry out comprehensive studies and use improved technologies on suitability foods which can be produced locally using natural nutrients.
As a country we should have processing facilities that protects perishable crops and help entrepreneurs using fruits and vegetables in the production of convenience food products.
Ms. Jennifer Syombua, the Quipbank’s General Manager, added that “given genuine political goodwill and support the youth of this great nation have unlimited ability to make more innovations into local food opportunities, adding that Quipbank is working on solutions to post harvest losses as well as storage problems. As a nation we should invest more in value chains, with the aim of empowering farmers to produce and sell nutritious products and promote good nutritional practices.”
The transformation of agricultural sector, as well as the development of related supplement industries would not better the situation save production and value addition are encouraged.
Ms. Jennifer Syombua called on the national and county governments to support agribusiness, innovation in agriculture at all levels. She advised farmers to focus on intermediate products where the greatest potential for industrialization and export actually lies.
Opportunities exist for Kenya to tap into the rapid growth in the use of enriched convenience foods in home-prepared meals whether as frozen, powdered, dry mixes, canned and freeze-dried products. According to Quipbank’s General Manager, the use of convenience foods is expected to increase as a result of new technologies, including the use of disposable packaging, new package coatings and films, and the concept of quota control.
Kenya should take advantage of this to promote mechanization and create jobs, exploring opportunities in the food and agriculture industry as matter of importance.
For More Information Contact:
Jared Oundo, Corporate Communication officer at Vehicle and Equipment Leasing Limited (VAELL)