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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.

 

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].