Good market in Europe for Kenyan herbs
The weather has been dryer than usual in Kenya this season, which has
meant that many producers have had to limit the water usage. However, herb producer Mintos Fresh is at an advantage because of where their growing area is located. Located in the Molo region, the area is well known for its fertile lands, lower temperatures and the higher altitude means that there is more moisture than in other regions.
Most of their production is focused on coriander, mint and chives, but the company also grows dill and thyme as well, depending on consumer demand.
The herbs are currently grown on 15 acres, the chives in high tunnels and the mint and coriander are grown in open fields. Innocent Bosire from Mintos Herbs shared that they own a 20 acre field at another location and they have been looking at this area to expand their production in the next few years. He said that the second location is in a warmer area which would make it perfect for growing Basil.
"Our largest market is the Netherlands, but we plan on sending shipments to Germany in April. We have sent a few shipments to the UK in the past, but they haven't been very active in the market. The demand for herbs is strong in Europe which has meant that we haven't ventured too much into other markets such as the Middle East, although, I do think that there is probably a good market for coriander there." said Innocent.
"Every region is different and it is all about knowing the markets. Coriander is pretty popular in the UK, the German market is very interested in the mint and they take all of our herbs in the Netherlands, with just a little more chives than the rest. The cut herbs are all shipped by air, with a shelf life of around a week, once they reach their destination."
The herbs are sent directly to wholesalers, who then repack them and send them out to their different consumers. Innocent said that prices don't fluctuate much in the herb market like they do with other vegetables. A lot of this has to do with the fact that the company is dealing directly with wholesalers, where the prices are constant and pretty standard through the year. Working directly with retailers could mean more profit, however, but being based in Africa makes it tricky for the company to go this route because they do not have as much background information about which companies they should be dealing with.
"What we offer depends a lot on demand. I met a new client at Fruit Logistica this year who is very active in the Russia market and we have considered expanding to rucola, sage and mint, but we are still working out how much, in terms of production, we would need for that market. We would love the opportunity to enter the Russia market, so we are very happy to adjust our production to fit the market's needs." concluded Innocent.
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Tel: +254 717 305339
Publication date: 3/14/2017
Author: Heather Wicks
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