Kenya to revamp cooperatives to tap global superfoods market-Xinhua

Kenya to revamp cooperatives to tap global superfoods market

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-04-04 20:10:45

NAIROBI, April 4 (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Thursday announced plans to use the local co-operatives network to position the east African nation as a superfood producer and exporter.

Simon Chelugui, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Cooperatives and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Development, said the government is focusing on sustainable agricultural value chain reforms, including global market access for Kenyan avocado, macadamia, and blueberry farmers, by harnessing the latent power of co-op societies and MSMEs as the global demand for superfoods continues to grow.

"Kenya is already doing well in producing superfoods such as avocado, macadamia, and blueberries, which are also beginning to feature," Chelagui said in a statement issued after a fact-finding tour of orchards and packhouses of Kakuzi, a listed agribusiness and superfoods producer in Murang'a County, central Kenya.

"We are number five in avocado exports and can easily get to number one, but only if we maintain global standards relating to crop husbandry, traceability, and sustainability, as every fruit exported carries Kenya's reputation," he added.

According to Chelugui, the government is zeroing in on the 171.8 billion U.S. dollar global superfoods market as part of the agricultural transformation deliverables.

Besides the nutritional benefits, superfoods also assist in improving digestion, reducing blood glucose, minimizing inflammation, lowering blood cholesterol, and preventing chronic health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Chelugui said the government will adopt a public-private partnership with leading growers such as Kakuzi to provide much-needed technical capacity-building for local farmers under the co-operatives movement.

"Our co-operative societies and other MSME agribusiness players have an opportunity to learn and forge partnerships with large players such as Kakuzi, who are willing to provide capacity-building in farmer training, marketing, and extension services to enable us to play in the top league as quality superfoods producers and exporters," he said.

Chris Flowers, managing director at Kakuzi, said the firm is the single largest producer of avocados and macadamia nuts in Kenya, accounting for an estimated 12 percent of all avocados exported from Kenya.

According to Flowers, as part of Kakuzi's superfoods market development strategy beyond avocados, the company was also the first Kenyan company to undertake commercial blueberry production.

"We believe blueberries are yet another key crop that will build Kenya's export earnings and international reputation as a key agricultural producer of superfoods," Flowers said.