The Kenyan climate is perfect for the year-round production of many different fruits and vegetables and Kenyan producers are increasingly important players in the world market. For small growers, however, infiltrating the market is difficult. James Kituri started Ambango Fresh Greens in 2016 and the company grows beans, sugar snaps and snow peas.
James talks of the challenges he has faced: “As a new, smaller company it is very difficult to grow and export a lot of product. We have the capability to grow on more than 200 acres and produce year-round but we don’t because we wouldn’t be able to sell the product. In this market, it is very common for producers to have contracts with buyers and through these contracts the producers make a specific growing program. They know how much tonnage the buyer will want so they know exactly how much product they will sell before they even grow it. For them the process is very smooth and our company strives to get a contract and a program like this, this would allow us to reach our full potential.”
Ambango Fresh Greens' current harvest is about 1.5 – 2 tons of the sugar snap and 2 – 3 tons a week of the snow peas. In the last two months the country had some issues with the white fly pest, but fortunately James’s crop wasn’t affected very much: “The white flies are a menace because they eat your crop. It was a challenge to contain them, but we did it and they weren’t able to do much damage our crop.”
Though he would be able to export his product anywhere there is demand, currently James mainly exports to France and the Netherlands, though this was a tough year for the company. “We exported about 2-3 tons of the sugar snaps and the snow peas combined. The market is not yet saturated and there is room for companies like mine to produce more and sell more, but it is difficult for us to find buyers because so many buyers have contracted the larger producers. When the buyers need more than they contracted for, or if the producer is unable to fully deliver, only then do they come to us. Our company has the ability to become one of these major players – we have the right acreage, the right climate, and the right quality. What we need is the trust of the buyers so that we can enter the big leagues and be contracted. If we had the promise of purchasers, we could grow much higher volumes,” James concludes.
For more information:
Ambango Fresh Greens
Tel: +254 721 951 353