KFC Kenya criticized over ‘chip shortage’

Last week, international supply chains became the hot topic in Kenya, when KFC said it was unable to offer fries as it could not import its preferred pre-sliced potatoes from Egypt. Instead, customers were being offered alternatives such as a portion of the national staple ugali, or maize meal. The chain did not source potatoes locally, despite them being commonly grown and farmers having to sell them at low prices.

Potatoes are, in fact, Kenya's second-most consumed crop after maize, and are cultivated mostly by small-scale farmers. The problem, apparently, was that potential local suppliers had not gone through KFC's quality assurance process that makes sure "our food is safe for consumption by our customers", the company's East Africa chief executive Jacques Theunissen said.

He did however say that other ingredients - such as the buns, flour and ice cream - were bought on the Kenyan market and the company has said it is committed to championing local products.

KFC’s rivals were quick to capitalize on this situation. Chicken Inn released an advert with a smiling man tucking into a box of chips - all locally sourced of course. Burger King also said it had enough fries. While these other companies can find alternative sources of potatoes, it is not exactly clear why after 11 years of being in the country, KFC has not found a supplier that meets its standards.

Frances Kimemia, governor of potato-growing Nyandarua county, also weighed in saying that his farmers produce quality vegetables. He said that KFC's stance was "insensitive to farmers". The row has exposed the gaps in our agricultural system that mean some of our farmers are denied a decent home market.

Source: bbc.com

Photo source: Dreamstime.com

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