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Kenya hit with sharp shortage of Soybeans and Sunflower forcing traders to turn to Uganda,Tanzania

BIDCO Africa, a multinational consumer goods company with subsidiaries and distributorships across 17 countries in East Africa, Central Africa, and Southern Africa, has especially been hard hit.

  • Despite the crops being drought resistant and adaptable to many ecological zones in the country, local farmers currently only produce 50 percent to meet the industry needs.
  • The situation has seen key players who manufacture edible oils forced to turn to neigbouring Tanzania and Uganda to import the raw materials for processing in order to meet demand.
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The situation has seen key players who manufacture edible oils forced to turn to neigbouring Tanzania and Uganda to import the raw materials for processing in order to meet demand.

Despite the crops being drought resistant and adaptable to many ecological zones in the country, local farmers currently only produce 50 percent to meet the industry needs.

BIDCO Africa, a multinational consumer goods company headquartered in Thika, Kenya with subsidiaries and distributorships across 17 countries in East Africa, Central Africa, and Southern Africa, has especially been hard hit.

The company says it currently requires over 10,000 metric tonnes of Sunflower and Soybeans annually, but local farmers only supply an estimated 5,000 metric tonnes.

“We are operating at 50 percent capacity in terms of seed crushing. We need farmers. We need young people to step and take up the challenge,” said Vimal Shah, the Chief Executive Officer at Bidco Africa Ltd.

In an attempt to remedy the situation, BIDCO Africa has contracted over 25,000 small-scale farmers in different parts of the country to cultivate the two crops.

Duncan Kimani, one of the contracted farmers in Kikopey, in Nakuru County says Sunflower can withstand pests and is rarely destroyed by livestock and wildlife making it a lucrative crop.

Early this year, the company partnered with Kenya’s largest bank by assets, Kenya Commercial Bank to try and convince Kenyan jobless youths to embrace Soybeans and Sunflower farming.

The partnership with KCB is part of KCB’s Sh50 billion 2Jiajiri programme will provide 1,000 entrepreneurs every year with training, technical support and market linkages.

The young entrepreneurs have access to guaranteed oil seed markets

BIDCO is looking to increase the number of contracted small-scale farmers to 50,000 by next year and expand to Kajiado, Laikipia, Taveta, Meru and Embu.

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