A Kenyan horticultural company, Instaveg Ltd, that lost much of its export business to Europe during the pandemic, is ‘reinventing itself’ with support from a Self Help Africa managed business fund, to allow it to protect jobs and markets for hundreds of smallholder farmers from whom it purchases.
Pandemic response funding received from the AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund is enabling Instaveg Ltd to build a new packing plant, create a new refrigerated transport hub and establish new farmer training extension services in Kenya’s Eastern Region. The business is also securing new quality assurance certification to allow it’s farmers to benefit from an increased price for their produce.
Instaveg employs 69 people and buys from close to 300 farmer producers of a range of produce including French beans, courgettes, baby corn and peas, in Kirinyaga, Laikipia, and Nyeri counties, in Kenya.
Company director Ashibon Mwangi says that their business, established in 2014, was severely impacted by the pandemic, as they had been exporting up to 90% of all of their fresh vegetables to European markets before Covid-19 shutdowns.
“We have had to reinvent ourselves. We’re upgrading our operations, improving quality assurance, logistics and extension services to local farmers. This work will benefit the company, ensure markets for close to 300 farmers, and ensure that they get better prices for their goods,” he said.
The AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund is backed by the European Union and Slovak Aid. It is designed to create new markets for smallholder farmers, and jobs in Kenya’s agri-business sector.