By George .P. Munene
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) project “AgrInvest – Enabling inclusive and efficient private sector investment in agri-food systems” (AgrInvest-FS), in Kenya is supporting the Nyamira North Women SACCO, a women-led Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization (SACCO) to grow and sell indigenous vegetables to, Mace Foods, a private food enterprise.
Since the partnership was officialized, Nyamira North Women SACCO has delivered 500 kg of products weekly worth Sh1M. Other indigenous vegetables outside the contract valued at Sh220,800 have also been sold to the buyer to plug in shortages by Mace Foods’ usual suppliers.
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The UN agency is helping the SACCO establish formal contractual arrangements with the processing company in an effort to unlock sustainable investments in the African indigenous vegetable value chain improving food and nutrition security and creating rural employment.
Mace Foods is an Eldoret-based company that works with over 5,600 contract small-scale farmers sourcing indigenous vegetables and chillis, dehydrates, and packs them for sale for both local and international markets.
The program further seeks to support the SACCO to gather funds to purchase cold storage facilities and through working with the government of Nyamira County seeks to ensure the women employ proper agronomic practices such as timely planting and harvesting as well as pest management.
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Other countries targeted by the AgrInvest program include Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, and Niger.