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    British cereal company Weetabix has renewed its pledge to source all its wheat from British farmers.

    In this regard, Weetabix announced that it will exclusively source wheat for its biscuits from two local wheat merchants, Gleadell and Fengrain.  

    The company had in 2010 vowed to source 100 per cent of its wheat from local (British) farmers as a way of guaranteeing the quality of its product, while supporting its growing rural economy.

    However, a wheat shortage in the UK has from time to time forced the company to import the raw material.

    Acquisition and Expansion

    In 2012, Bright Food – China’s second largest food manufacturing company – bought 60% of Weetabix for £1.2bn as it looked to feed the growing demand for cereal in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Nanjing.

    Weetabix currently has a presence in 80 countries around the world, among them Kenya, and is now looking to penetrate further in the East African market as it expands into West Africa.

    The Weetabix whole grain biscuits are popular among the urban dwellers in Kenya.

    Competition

    Recently, the UK company had to go to court to fend off threats by Kenyan biscuit maker Manji Food Industries, who were out to market their own brand of whole-grain biscuits branded Multibix.

    In its complaint, Weetabix claimed that Multibix was an imitation of its products, arguing that the name was aimed at tricking buyers into purchasing Manji’s products at the expense of Weetabix’s.

    Manji denied the allegations, saying that Multibix was not intended to confuse Weetabix’s customers as it was a different brand.

    In March 2015, the High Court Manji to stop selling and withdraw Multibix from until the trade name dispute with UK firm Weetabix was heard and determined.

    Later, in April of the same year, the two companies agreed to settle the dispute out of court.

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    Kenyan cucumber farmers can earn more than 10 times by exporting their produce to Israel.

    A sharp rise in demand has led to price spikes following a supply stress, which has hit the Middle East country for six months.

    Despite the desert country being one of the leading global agribusiness and horticultural producer and exporter, local farmers have been compelled to suspend selling to outside markets to meet the internal demand.

    According to a global agricultural produce publication, Fresh Plaza, cucumber production in Israel is barely enough to satisfy the local market .

    This has resulted in prices rising up to three times.

    “In these cases, the high price of €3.68 per kg (Sh408 per kg) was more than triple the average price. Under normal conditions, cucumber prices in supermarkets range from €0.98 per kg (Sh109 per kg) to €1.30 per kg (Sh145 per kg),” the publication says.

    Head-to-head

    In Kenya, 50 kg of cucumber cost Sh1,900 in Nairobi. This translates to about Sh38 per kilogramme. The same quantity in Israel is fetching Sh408.

    The shortage has forced the Israeli government to introduce tariff-rate quota to increase imports to shield consumers again high prices.

    Tariff-rate quota is a is a trade policy tool used to protect a domestically produced commodity or product from competitive imports.

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    Kenya is set to increase its fish exports thanks to a partnership with the Spanish government to build a Sh1b fish quality lab, insulating the country from long waiting periods for fish quality tests, which are normally done outside the country.
    The lab, to be erected on a five-acre  piece of land in Nairobi, but with branches in Kisumu and Mombasa, will be operation  in the next 12-18 months and will have the capacity to serve over 1m metric tonnes of fish per year. Its impact will not only be felt in a reduction in waiting times but also enhance the quality of fish both for export and local consumption.
    Production capacity
    In August last year, the European Union lifted a ban it had imposed on fish especially from Lake Victoria, citing quality and health standards. The lake produces close to 111,868 tonnes per year, accounting for over 70 per cent of fish produced in the country. Other key sources of fish includes ponds with a capacity of 20,000 tonnes while Indian Ocean and Lake Turkana produce 8,000 and 6,000 tonnes annually, this according to a data by the ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries.
    Huge post harvest waste
    Kenya produced 193,000 metric tonnes of fish last year with a market value of Sh10b but could not export especially to the high demand market in Europe due to low quality standards. With little access to the export market and a low domestic demand considering decimal 3.7kg fish consumption per person every year in the country, most of fish produced go to waste, hence losses to farmers. The Fisheries Department estimates that at least a third of fish produced per year in the country go to waste
    Good prices
    The fish quality lab is however expected to increase fish quality testing efficiency, allowing farmers to export more to the now opened rich EU market, earning them double returns.
    A kilogram of fillet goes for at least Sh800 in the export market double the amount fish farmers are earning from the low demand domestic market.

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