REWARDS

Kakuzi pays avocado farmers Sh31 million bonus

Some 3,500 smallholder farmers who supply fruits on contract get early Christmas

In Summary
  • On an average day, Kakuzi employs 3,000 people, with more than 5,000 children attending public schools within its boundaries.
  • The bonus pay outs have commenced ahead of the Christmas festivities.
Avocado fruits in an orchard in Gatanga, Murang'a.
REWARDS: Avocado fruits in an orchard in Gatanga, Murang'a.
Image: ALICE WAITHERA

Kakuzi fruits processing company has paid its smallholder avocado farmers a Sh31 million bonus.

The company engages 3,500 smallholder avocado farmers who supply fruits on contract, ten active smallholder groups and seven active outgrowers.

Managing director Chris Flowers on Tuesday said the total payment to smallholders and outgrowers this season is Sh31.4 million, representing 87 per cent of net returns.

Flowers also confirmed that the firm has commenced the bonus payouts ahead of the Christmas festivities.

The smallholder programme was started as a deliberate community initiative geared at investing in sustainable supply of quality fruits directly from the source, he said.

“This way, Kakuzi can ensure the full value gets back to the farmer and traceability can be managed,” Flowers said in the company’s offices.

The company encourages farmers to plant the Hass avocado variety due to its popularity and ability to attract reasonable prices in the international market.

The MD added that through the programme, small-holder farmers are able enjoy the risks and rewards of the global markets.

He said the programme provides small-scale avocado growers with access to best farming practices. It attracts farmers from Kakuzi’s community in Murang’a, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Meru and Nandi counties.

“Kakuzi has a large international market and wants small-holder farmers to access it. We have therefore up-scaled the operations of our small-holder avocado farmers programme while boosting the global positioning of Kenyan avocados,” Flowers said.

The firm recently disclosed that it had invested more than Sh1.6 billion over the last four years to enhance its operations, expand production and maintain global standards.

The latest Environmental, Social and Governance report done by the firm confirmed that it has been making efforts to become part of the surrounding community at its Murang’a-based agricultural production fields.

On an average day, Kakuzi employs 3,000 people, with more than 5,000 children attending public schools within its boundaries.

According to the report, local suppliers, have benefited from procurement opportunities valued at more than Sh484 million annually.

“With ESG standards, we have put money and human capital resources where our mouth is,” the MD said.

The firm has in the last four years paid out over Sh900 million in dividends to its 1,300 shareholders and Sh260 million to small-holder avocado farmers excluding this year’s payment.

The firm directly engages, provides extension and marketing services for Hass avocado farmers.

Horticulture Crops Directorate director Benjamin Tito said Kenya remained the continent’s leading exporter of avocados with Murang’a producing 31 per cent of the produce.

This is despite the fact that the country only exported 10 per cent of its total avocado production, earning Sh14.41 billion.

(Edited by Bilha Makokha)