Hilwa Kwale Enterprises, a start-up company in Kwale County is seeking to increase the number of out-growers in the county from the current one farmer to over three farmers who can grow and steadily supply it with coconut fruits.
The company which was started in late 2017 and started operations in 2018 extracts coconut oil from the fruits and uses the oil to make end products such as soap, shampoo, body lotions, shower gels, body cream and hair beauty products among other products.
“Producing natural health and beauty products for the community was the main idea which pushed us to start Hilwa and further provide employment opportunities for the youth in the area,” said Tabasam Abdalla Ali, the chairperson of the enterprise.
Currently, the solitary farmer supply the start-up with 400 fruits per month and sometimes the fruits are too small in size forcing the company to use many fruits to meet the oil extraction target.
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Tabasam says that they need up to 30 fruits to produce a litre of oil and if the company could have more farmers there would be a steady supply of the fruits.
“The advantage of having many farmers supplying us is that their produce will complement each other in that if one has smaller fruits, the other will supply larger ones that will be mixed up to meet our target,” said Tabasam.
“We hope that if we get more farmers who can supply at least 200 fruits each in a month, we will be better placed to up our production.”
The start-up sells their products from door-to-door, open-air markets in the area and online and phone call orders that are delivered to consumers’ preferred points of pick-ups.
Already the company has 1o employed youths who help in running the business on a daily basis. It has also opened its school section where young people are trained in coconut value addition.
“So far we have three learners whom we are teaching how to make other products such as ornaments, coco peat and home vessels,” said Tabasam.
Tabasam can be reached on +254 707 775273/728 877 483 email@example.com