A Country First: Nairobi Farmers Market Seeks to Link Food Producers Directly with Buyers

Kenyan farmers will soon have their own market where they sell produce directly to consumers, cutting off the traditional value chain that is replete with middlemen.

The Nairobi Farmers Market, which is under construction in the upmarket Runda Estate, off Kiambu Road, will contain 45 stalls that are exclusively operated by farmers.

This borrows from international practice where most cities have farmers markets that supply produce direct from the farms to the consumers. While some provide temporary selling space for different farmers on a day-to-day basis, others lease out permanent shops that are operated by individual farmers who take the space on a long-term basis.

“We are essentially addressing the contradiction where farm-gate prices for cabbages, for example, are less than Sh10 a piece but the consumer pays Sh60. In-between numerous traders, brokers and county levy collectors eat the sweat from the farmer and the savings from the consumer. We are creating a facility that will be a big help for both the farmer and the consumer,” says Mr Munene Mashine, the Project Manager.

He says the other concern the market will address will be traceability of produce and guarantee of good agricultural practices. All the farmers/shop owners will have to submit to regular inspections and certification, similar to what is required of export produce.

Questions have been asked about some of the fresh produce sold in Kenya, with suspicions that some of it is grown with sewage and other polluted water.

The proposed market, which is expected to open in July, will contain sections for fresh produce, Beef, fish and poultry products, dairy produce and a grains section. The Mwea Rice Centre within the market, for example, promises to provide “Mwea rice at Mwea prices” – a potentially revolutionary approach that will ensure great conveniences for Nairobi shoppers keen on the popular Pishori rice.

An artist’s impression of the Nairobi Farmers Market in Runda, which will open in July 2019.

The market developers say they will encourage stall owners to contract and supervise small-scale growers to ensure sufficient supplies within the set quality guidelines while also spreading the benefits of the market to more farmers. By aggregating produce from the many farmers in the market, they hope to create a secondary outlet for supplying institutional customers such as hotels, restaurants, schools and hospitals. This will ensure and an expansive market potential that can provide an outlet for thousands of farmers.

“We will encourage shop owners to sign up outgrowers across the country, and even to work with County Governments where necessary. This way we can create an efficient road to market for the exceptional pineapple growers of Homa Bay, the sweet potato farmers in Kakamega and the honey producers in Baringo and elsewhere. We are creating a platform that offers guarantees at both the supply and demand side of the equation and hopefully we can provide some stability for everyone,” says Mr Mashine.

Globally, farmers’ markets usually include an eating out section where freshly-prepared dishes are served. The markets, such as the Borough Market in London, La Boqueria in Barcelona and the Shongweni Farmers Market in South Africa, are top tourist attractions as they provide a good perspective of what the country has to offer.

The Nairobi market will also have a restaurant and since this is Kenya, a nyama choma outlet. Some farmers will be selling produce that has gone through some basic primary processing.

The developers say they want the market to be “fun for the shoppers because even though price advantage is important, it is not the only thing that matters to the modern shopper.”

The market is being developed by a local investor, United Agromarts Limited.

In order to also be in tune with modern shopping trends, the market plans to launch an aggressive home deliveries campaign driven through the Nairobi Farmers Market App.

“It will be a blend between the Uber and the Jumia technologies – you do your shopping online, and we are able to find where you are using the Google Maps facility. We will launch this as soon as the market opens and people see they can trust us, they don’t have to touch and feel the tomato before dropping it into the shopping basket. I think when people have worked so hard to earn their money, they shouldn’t always have to run all over the place to spend it. We will do the running for them,” says Mr Mashine.

 

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Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Kenyan Who Gave Earnings to Poor Wins $1M Teacher Prize

A Kenyan teacher from a remote village who gave away most of his earnings to the poor won a $1 million prize on Sunday for his work teaching in a government-run school that has just one computer and shoddy Internet access.

The annual Global Teacher Prize was awarded to Peter Tabichi in the opulent Atlantis Hotel in Dubai in a ceremony hosted by actor Hugh Jackman.

Tabichi said the farthest he’d traveled before this was to Uganda. Coming to Dubai marked his first time on an airplane.

“I feel great. I can’t believe it. I feel so happy to be among the best teachers in the world, being the best in the world,” he told The Associated Press after his win.

Tabichi teaches science to high schoolers in the semi-arid village of Pwani where almost a third of children are orphans or have only one parent. Drought and famine are common.

He said the school has no library and no laboratory. He plans to use the million dollars from his win to improve the school and feed the poor.

Despite the obstacles Tabichi’s students face, he’s credited with helping many stay in school, qualify for international competitions in science and engineering and go on to college.

“At times, whenever I reflect on the challenges they face, I shed tears,” he said of his students, adding that his win will help give them confidence.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement that Tabichi’s story “is the story of Africa” and of hope for future generations.

As a member of the Roman Catholic brotherhood, Tabichi wore a plain floor-length brown robe to receive the award presented by Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The prize is awarded by the Varkey Foundation, whose founder, Sunny Varkey, established the for-profit GEMS Education company that runs 55 schools in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Qatar.

In his acceptance speech, Tabichi said his mother died when he was just 11 years old, leaving his father, a primary school teacher, with the job of raising him and his siblings alone.

Tabichi thanked his father for instilling Christian values in him, then pointed to his father in the audience, invited him up on stage and handed him the award to hold as the room erupted in applause and cheers.

“I found tonight to be incredibly emotional, very moving,” Jackman told the AP after hosting the ceremony and performing musical numbers from his film The Greatest Showman.

“It was a great honor, a thrill to be here and I just thought the whole evening was just filled with a really pure spirit,” he added.

Now in its fifth year, the prize is the largest of its kind. It’s quickly become one of the most coveted and prestigious for teachers. Tabichi selected out of out 10,000 applicants.

The winner is selected by committees comprised of teachers, journalists, officials, entrepreneurs, business leaders and scientists.

Last year, a British art teacher was awarded for her work in one of the most ethnically diverse places in the country. Her work was credited with helping students feel welcome and safe in a borough with high murder rates.

Other winners include a Canadian teacher for her work with indigenous students in an isolated Arctic village where suicide rates are high, and a Palestinian teacher for her work in helping West Bank refugee children traumatized by violence.

The 2015 inaugural winner was a teacher from Maine who founded a nonprofit demonstration school created for the purpose of developing and disseminating teaching methods.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Kenya’s Tourism Earnings Up 31%

Kenya’s 2018 tourist arrivals grew by 37.33 percent from the previous year to cross the two million mark for the first time, posting a significant growth in earnings to Sh157 billion.

The earnings are an 31.2 percent improvement from the Sh119 billion earned in 2017, according to Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala.

The latest statistics show there were 2,025,206 tourists arriving compared with 1,474,671 international arrivals in the previous year.

The United States remained Kenya’s leading market, growing by 11.12 per cent with 225,157 arrivals.

“The gains of the sector were as a result of coordinated efforts between various arms of government, whom the tourism sector has engaged, as well as the concerted efforts in marketing Kenya as a destination of choice,” Mr Balala said, while releasing the tourism data at State House, Mombasa.

Tanzania was second with a 10.48 per cent share of the arrivals at 212,216 tourists. Uganda was third with a share of 10.08 per cent at 204,082 arrivals.

Other top markets were India, China, Germany, Italy and South Africa.

Mr Balala said a total of 3.9 million bed nights were taken up by Kenyans last year compared with 3.6 million in 2017.

“Domestic bed night for the year 2018 were estimated at 3,974,243, a 9.03 per cent increase compared to 2017 data of 3, 645, 243,” he said.

Refurbish products

While receiving the tourism performance report, President Uhuru Kenyatta encouraged private sector players to invest more in refurbishing their products and revamping tourism experiences.
“As part of enhancing repeat visits, as well as recommend the destination to other visitors. Kenya currently has a total of 68 global hotel brands, a clear indication that the international community is confident of returns in investment in the tourism sector,” said the President.
The president expressed his satisfaction on the overall achievement of the country’s foreign exchange earner saying it is a key sector that contributes substantively to the economy.

Mr Kenyatta also urged county governments to prioritise packaging of tourism products by partnering with government expert to boost the sector.

“Counties are key players and hosts of many tourism experiences, they should partner with government expert agencies, like the Kenya Tourism Board and collaborate with neighbouring devolved units to enrich the existing tourism circuits,” he added.

The president said the Sh460 Mama Ngina Waterfront is a key project that will be part of enhancing the coastal tourism experience.

The recreational facility is being upgraded and given a facelift to attain international standards.

Mr Balala attributed the gains made by the sector to coordinated efforts between various arms of government, marketing of Kenya as a destination of choice among other strategies.

“We engaged various government departments, concerted efforts in marketing Kenya as a destination of choice. Investment of the recovery funding has also helped in growing the sector,” he elaborated.

North Africa’s decline

Mr Balala said Kenya also benefitted from the North Africa decline of tourism.

“The Arab Spring has affected them badly as well as areas like India and Thailand which have their own issues.

“Both Florida and Caribbean areas with the weather patterns changing, it has affected and people are now moving to Africa,” he elaborated on Sunday during a press conference at English Point Marina in Mombasa.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Sergey Pesterev [1], [2].

Africa’s Dominant Mobile Money Service is Going Global

Kenya’s biggest mobile money service M-Pesa is going global in a deal with Western Union that would allow users to send money all over the world.

M-Pesa’s over 23 million active subscribers in Kenya will also be able to send and receive money through their phones and be connected to WU’s 500,000 global agents. Safaricom, which runs M-Pesa, said transfers through bank accounts to Germany, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom will also be available, with services to bank accounts in other countries being rolled out in the coming weeks.

Started 11 years ago as a platform for texting small payments between users, M-Pesa has grown into a service with subscribers in 10 nations across Africa, Europe, and Asia. In Kenya alone, it has 160,000 agents and did over 580 million transactions in the three months ending June 2018, according to the Communications Authority of Kenya.

Its growth has had wider implications for financial inclusion and digital banking, showing banks that mobile money presents an opportunity to increase payments income as well as earn interest on increased deposits. M-Pesa grew so big and so fast that regulators once mulled over splitting it from its parent company—but later backtracked on that proposal.

But as the service grew in numbers, Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore in 2016 called M-Pesa a “clumsy” product that was “far from elegant” when stacked up against other tech products. And so began a process of innovation, one that could stave off competition, help Safaricom diversify its products, widen its mobile and fintech network, and put M-Pesa into the hands of many more users.

In the last few years, the company launched the ride-hailing service Little, an e-commerce platform Masoko, and a music streaming service Songa, which all allowed users to pay for services via M-Pesa. Last October, the operator also launched M-Pesa 1Tap, which used a card, phone sticker or wristband device to allow for secure and faster payments. In February, Google enabled M-Pesa payments on its app store, making the US tech giant one of the first among global digital distribution sites to adapt to mobile money.

In April, Safaricom partnered with PayPal to allow e-commerce businesses to seamlessly transfer money between the two services and into their mobile wallets. The company launched Bonga chat service which let M-Pesa users talk while sending and receiving money. And in a bid to boost its numbers, Safaricom is reportedly taking M-Pesa to Ethiopia, a market of over 100 million that is slowly opening up to investors.

The deal to take M-Pesa global also boosts Western Union which has faced tough competition from fintech startups like TransferWise and WorldRemit that offer cheaper and faster online transfers—forcing the company to cut prices and shift to a digital strategy.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Kenya, South Africa to Launch Long-term Multiple Travel Visas

Long-term visas will become available for South Africans wanting to travel to Kenya and Kenyans wanting to visit South Africa as of December 1.

The announcement was made by Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and his Kenyan counterpart Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i on Monday after the two held bilateral talks and took a tour of Lindela Repatriation Centre in Krugersdorp.

In September Gigaba announced that South Africa would be easing some immigration rules including agreeing to visa waiver agreements with more countries in an effort to boost investment and tourism as part of a broader economic turnaround programme announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The two leaders said both countries would continue working on ways to maximise their cooperation and allowing for passport holders to have long-term multiple entry visa arrangements for business people, academics and frequent travellers between the two countries.

“It’s a historic achievement, we made tremendous progress,” said Matiang’i.

He said as of the arrangement would benefit both countries tremendously.

“This is intended to improve trade between the two countries, interaction between the two countries and to support the people between the two nations engaging in various economic activities of mutual benefit,” said Matiang’i.

He told journalists at the briefing that the east African country viewed its relationship with South Africa as critical and that the presidents of both countries – Ramaphosa and Uhuru Kenyatta – had instructed both ministers to work towards removing barriers and impediments to the growing relationship.

“And today we made a huge achievement in removing those barriers, whatever is left, we will be able to sort out in the next three months,” said Matiang’i.

Praise for Lindela

The Kenyan minister said he believed relaxing visa requirements would lead to the most “seamless interaction between South Africa and Kenya in history.”

Matiang’i also praised the repatriation centre, which he said was a “luxury” for deportees waiting to be processed and taken back to their respective countries.

“The minister has taken me through this facility, I am basically floored, shocked that South Africa actually makes this kind of investment to address the needs of deportees,” said Matiang’i.

South Africa’s home affairs minister, in turn, thanked Kenya for its efforts in preventing illegal immigrants from making their way to the country.

“I thanked the minister for the work they continue to do to repel a lot of illegal immigrants destined for South Africa, on a daily basis hundreds of people are being stopped in Kenya who are destined for South Africa,” said Gigaba.

He added that Kenya contributed to keeping the country safe.

Gigaba said the partnership would contribute to tourism in the two countries and support the visions shared by both Ramaphosa and Kenyatta for free movement of people between the countries.

He said academics and business people would be able to get ten-year visas, while frequent travellers would be able to apply for three-year multiple entry visas, a feat Gigaba said would also alleviate administrative pressure on their respective departments.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].