The year 2019 has been reasonably good to Sweet Potato traders in Kenya. Although some areas had to deal with drought, other regions had plenty of rain. So much so, that it posed a challenge in terms of logistics. However, thanks to their recently acquired Global Gap certification, one trader is ready to enter the European market.
Sweet potatoes from Kenya are exported year round. With a 30 per cent growth in 2019 compared to last year, Kenyan trading company Barrinate Farms is ready to enter the European market. “This year we’re exporting about 60 to 80 tons of sweet potatoes every month. Thanks to increasing our number of employees and higher production, we’ve been able to grow 30 per cent in relation to 2018,” said Dr. Barbara Magoha, managing director for Barrinate Farms. “The season has been very good to us, despite there being a drought in some areas of Kenya. Other areas had quite a lot of rain, which made transportation to the port a lot more challenging. As we can’t predict the weather, we are up front with clients about potential losses if there’s been a lot of rain. This way they don’t expect huge volumes and we have some room to work with if we encounter losses during transport.”
Most of the sweet potatoes from Barrinate Farms find their way to the Middle-Eastern market. “Recently we acquired our Global Gap certification. This was an obstacle for sending our sweet potatoes to the markets in Europe, however we might have a good chance now to expand our clientele over there. We’re also aiming to obtain our organic certifications next year. Not only will we be able to have a higher yield, but the yield itself will also bring in more value. This in turn allows us to hire more women in Kenya, enforcing our social and economic influence on the country in a positive way. We’re specifically interested in working with the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.” Dr. Magoha explained.
The fact that the sweet potatoes in Kenya are cultivated year round gives Barrinate a significant advantage over their competition, says Dr. Magoha. “We have to compete mainly with Egypt and Uganda. As for Egypt their sweet potatoes are seasonal, so we should always be ready to fill the gaps they leave behind. As for Uganda, we’re neighbors. The best way to come out ahead of them is to make sure our prices are lower than theirs. We’d have to try to decrease our losses sustained during transport and the best way for this would be to start using air freight. This would remove the need to transport our produce to the port and export them from Nairobi instead, which would be a lot easier to do. Currently we only send about twenty per cent via air freight. Getting a foothold in the European market might allow us to increase this number, which would solve a lot of logistical problems.”
For more information:
Dr. Barbara Magoha
Tel: +254 733 726 183