An Eldoret based exporter Mace Food is looking for farmers to supply them with at least 240 to 300 tonnes of long cayenne red chilli per annum driven by the deficit of the crop owing to last year’s drought.
The company collects the chilli for sale to local and international markets such as Germany, Netherlands, Italy, the United Kingdom and USA.
The European Union import of fresh chilli rose to 45,000 tonnes in 2016, a 28 per cent increase from 35,000 tonnes in 2015 according to the Center for Promotion of Imports, an organization funded by the Netherlands ministry of foreign affairs.
Kenya is one of medium to large suppliers of chilli to the EU, supplying approximately 3,000 tonnes of chilli to the region in 2016.
“We have so far contracted over 7,000 farmers in areas such as Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Kitengela, Murang’a and Nairobi to supply us with the produce but some of them are inactive and cannot meet the demand due to challenges like drought, attack by pests and diseases,” said Japheth Tanui, a senior agronomist at Mace Foods.
“For a kilo of dry red chilli without stalks a farmer will earn Sh130 while wet chilli without stalks will fetch Sh50, we advise farmers in this regard to dry their produce in the sun to attain a moisture content of 15 per cent rather than supply wet chilli with a moisture content of 80 per cent and earn less,”
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Since the company works with many farmers, payment of the produce supplied usually takes 21 to 30 days as the produce from different regions is sorted and graded.
The company offers free transport to farmers with more than 10 acres of the crop under cultivation while small scale farmers with less than 10 acres have to form clusters where they will jointly gather the chilli before it is collected.
Mace Foods works with farmers from the initial of planting to the harvesting stage. In this, they give free chilli seeds to farmers and offer advice on best crop management practices.
The long cayenne chilli is used in cooking spicy dishes as a powder or in its whole form.
Tanui says long cayenne chilli does well in mid-highland and highland regions of Kenya and would take a minimum of three to four months to mature in some parts of Nandi such as Kobujoi and Nandi Hills.
Besides being an agromist, Tanui is also a consultant on a wide variety of crops such as tomatoes and vegetables.
Mace food can be reached on 0720391290 or 0737002659.