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Exporter looking for 2000 farmers to grow horticultural crops

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Kandia Fresh Produce Suppliers Ltd, a Nairobi based exporter is looking to increase its production base of farmers from the current 500 to 2,500 to grow seven horticultural crops to meet the increasing demand in European markets.

“We are seeking for more farmers across Kenya to grow French beans, snow peas, sugar snaps, chilli, avocado, broccoli and sugarcane through contract farming,” said Joseph Mwanga, an agronomist at the company.

“We consider four main things before we contract farmers, these are; enough source of water, ready labor, capital and size of the land.”

In this, farmers in regions where the exporter has out growers such as Kisii, Meru and the coast must have a minimum of half an acre to start with. Those not within the out grower zone must have a minimum of three acres.

They also have to buy seeds for the respective crop they intend to grow before signing the contract. In this, Kandia Fresh advices farmers to buy seeds from certified merchants such as the Kenya Highland Seed or Kenya Seed Company.

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“The process of signing the contract takes an average of one week with interested farmers first being sent an email of the contract to read and understand. Once they agree, they download it, sign and send scanned copies to Kandia Fresh. Signing of the contract is free and farmers are not charged for it,” said Mwanga.

When they start growing the crops, Kandi Fresh walks with the farmer every step of the way by offering free technical advice on adherence to market standards and the type of fertilisers and pesticides to use.

“We send agronomists to our farmers every 14 days to check on how they are doing. Through this, we educate them on GLOBALG.A.P (the worldwide standard for good agricultural practices),” said Mwanga.

Kandia Fresh Ltd has scheduled harvesting days for each region. In Kisii for instance, the exporter in partnership with the farmers harvest the produce on Mondays and Saturdays, Eldoret region farmers harvest on Tuesdays and Fridays while those in Ukambani harvest on Mondays and Thursdays.

After harvesting, the produce is weighed at the farm level and confirmed after delivery before grading and packaging is done.

“We pay farmers based on the weight of the produce delivered, in this the amount is normally indicated in the contract, but in case of change of price, we usually notify them,” said Mwanga.

Payment of the produce is via bank transfer and is done twice a month. Those farmers supplying produce between 1st and 15th of every month are paid on the 22nd of the same month while those supplying produce between 15th and 31st are paid in the 7th of the following month.

Kandia Fresh exports the produce to the European Union to countries such Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Thailand and Switzerland among others.

Joseph Mwanga the agronomist at Kandia Fresh can be reached on +254 706 182 721.

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