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    Agriproduce transport

    By George Munene

    The national and county governments have agreed to eliminate double taxation—multiple levies and fees charged on goods transported across counties. This will prove a boon for farmers and fresh produce traders who can now more easily and cheaply move goods past county borders. 

    “We will be working on a framework that ensures goods are only taxed once at their county of origin. If you are a farmer or trader ferrying fresh food from Nyandarua you will no longer be taxed in Nairobi, Taita Taveta, etc, as you take your produce to markets in Mombasa,” said Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i at a presser held on the heels of the meeting on Wednesday. 

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    In the consultative forum between the Council of Governors (CoG) and the National Development, Implementation, and Communication Committee (NDICCC), it was determined that the ministry of Industrialization, Trade, and Enterprise will now develop an agreement on the same for ratification by the country’s 47 counties. 

    This marks the first time since devolution started that counties have agreed to abolish double taxation even as traders have perennially complained that the duplication of levies has made private sector trading across county borders unnecessarily expensive.

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    Embu Governor Martin Wambora who also chairs the CoG pointed out that requiring a single permit will be ideal for commerce as businesses will more freely transport goods across counties.

    “The move will benefit our farmers who have had to endure double taxation. It will also spur private investments in the counties,” he said.

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    Tea

    By George Munene

    On Saturday, 26 June 2021, Bomet County shipped 84 tons of tea to Iran--commencing direct tea sales to the Middle Eastern country. This will mean increased incomes for the county's over 100,000 small-scale tea farmers.

    This follows talks between Bomet Governor Dr. Hillary Barchok and Iranian ambassador to Kenya H.E Jafar Barmaki have been ongoing for two years.

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    Demand for tea in Iran stands at 116 million kilos, with the country only producing 20 million kilos. This provides a potential market for Kenyan tea that is highly prized internationally. “Very few Iranians can afford Keyan tea because of its taste and quality. If I need Kenyan tea I have to order from Europe and that makes it unaffordable to many Iranians,” said Barmaki

    As of 2019, Kenya exported 532,715 kilograms to Iran--these numbers are however highly curtailed by US sanctions on the Islamic republic.

    Barchok insisted that direct markets offer farmers better prices and an alternative to the Kenya Tea Development Agency and the Mombasa Auction--bodies bedeviled by mismanagement and accusations of corruption. Prior to their amendment, Kenya’s tea exporting rules mandated that exported tea passes through the Mombasa tea auction house.

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    According to data from the Kenya Tea Directorate, Kenya exported 153.2 million kilograms of tea in the first three months of 2021, an 18.9 per cent jump in the first quarter of the year compared to 2020. Pakistan accounted for 40 per cent of the total shipments with other key destinations being Egypt, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Russia, Sudan, Yemen, and Kazakhstan.

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    tukalime 132211959 752990392278803 7836165761206731480 n

    By George Munene

    Tukalime Ventures is an innovative farm management service that farms and markets your agricultural produce at a fee. Founded in 2016, the company takes the hustle out of farming, actualising their client’s objectives by growing in-demand crops, employing the right expertise, inputs, and implements as well as ensuring timely harvests and a ready market for your produce.

    Tukalime’s slogan is simple: “We plan, we grow, you earn”. With some previous ‘farm from the office’ schemes having been exposed as con jobs; it is understandable that for many Kenyans this has a whiff of ‘too good to be true'. However, Tukalime’s six-year track record of results— the firm has managed over 1,800 acres of farmland since its inception— proves that if done ethically, with professionalism and a sound business plan, agricultural outsourcing can be a lucrative option for those looking to venture into farming.

    As a testament to the firm's success, in 2020, Kzanaka Limited, an agricultural holding company that is home to well-known brands such as Cooper K-Brands Ltd and Analabs invested in the budding company. This gives Tukalime access to financing as well as specialized lab and agronomy services. 

    “Agriculture is an uncertain enterprise, to minimise risks and maximise profits for our clients we adhere to the right farming protocols; proper land preparation, using the right seed, proper crop feeding programs, ensuring pests and diseases are at an acceptable threshold, and having access to markets,” explained Tukalime’s founder Kevin Kamau.

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    Having come back to Kenya after a ten-year stay in the United States, Kevin first got into potato farming in a partnership; “While my friend handled the hands-on farming, I sourced for and provided market linkages,” he says of his first step in farming. Though he had no background in agriculture, he understood the obvious: food is an essential. 

    Tukalime was founded one year later. This was driven by his evident initial success; “Friends outside the country sought me out to provide a more reliable and transparent way of investing in agriculture beyond ‘sending money to a cousin’,” he said.

    With a background in economics and finance; Kevin best explains his business's success model thusly; “Economics basically involves studying factors of production and how to best utilise them to get an end product. The market for the service we offered was there in people looking to make an extra income through farming. Food is an everyday essential, meaning the byproduct of our business also had a ready market. As an economy largely held up by agriculture, skilled agronomic labour was also available to us.” The company currently has four permanent employees—like many businesses, the Corona pandemic forced a shaving off of staff.

    The firm offers a wide range of services tailor-made for particular and wide-ranging client needs. These are determined by factors such as land size, region, and a wide range of options that cater to various complexities.

    The first step involves a farmer reaching Tukalime and expressing what they want to realise with their farmland. The company will then conduct an assessment to ensure the infrastructure capable of actualising what was outlined is available.

    A soil test is then conducted and a budget formulated with the information gathered from the farming site. 

    A client is then given the budget to review and if approved, the project is initiated and executed according to the budget and plan.

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    At the final step harvesting and marketing of the produce is finally undertaken before a post mortem of the entire project.

    Every step has to be expertly executed to realise the farmer’s objective; “Farmers are charging me with actualising their hopes, ambitions, and dreams, if I failed in my role as their farm manager, I would be crushed, “Kevin said.

    Kevin Kamau is amongst this year’s Agripreneur of the Year finalist at the Founder of the Year Africa (FOYA) awards.

    His vision forTukalime is for it to become farming’s equivalent to Airbnb; an online rental marketplace that has more rooms than any hotel chain in the world without owning a single building. “We want to be the leading drivers of safely and affordably grown food without actually needing to own farmland,” he illuminated.

    Tukalime: +254 (0)709 094 000/ +254 (0)734 330 044 

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