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Kenya a potential market for fruit and technology

"Retailers are now expanding into Kenya. Carrefour opened a supermarket in Nairobi and others will open in the future. There are over 4 million people with an income similar to that found in Western countries. Technology is not the only thing sold in Kenya, but also fruit with a long-shelf life and fruit and vegetables shipped by air, if the margins allow it," explains Renzo Piraccini, President of Cesena Fiera. We interviewed him to get his impressions of Kenya.

Carrefour supermarket in Nairobi (photo by R.P.)

If the role of a fair is to connect companies and find new markets, Macfrut is doing its best to do so. "In Kenya, we saw an evolving market with a thriving fruit and vegetable sector. We visited a Carrefour supermarket - the quality of the produce on display was similar to ours."

The fresh produce section

There were various European products such as Spanish Rojo Brillante persimmons, and there were also Pink Lady apples from South Africa. "I believe that the most well-organised Italian companies would be able to export some of their products to this market."

South African apples in Nairobi

In Kenya, the delegation made up of Piraccini, Cecilia Marzocchi from Macfrut and Enrico Turoni from Cermac, visited a few producers. There are around a dozen medium-large companies with a turnover between €10 and €70 million. They are not far from Nairobi and near the airport, so logistics is easier."

Passion fruit processing

"Great Britain is among the main destinations, especially for green beans and mini-vegetables. Kenyan green beans are then exported to Italy in winter. For what concerns fruit, the African nation is a great producer of mangoes, avocados, passion fruit and pineapples."

Labour costs $6 a day. 

"Then there are a lot of medium-sized companies. The local Ministry of Agriculture is supporting them by building 7 refrigerated centres for storage and processing. These centres are not overly-technological, we must not forget that local labour costs $6 a day per person."

Processing of pulses.

"Some operations though, like packaging boxes, need automation to be perfect, especially those to be be transported by sea. There are many opportunities, as globalisation may penalise our producers but it also opens new markets."
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