The new plant of VERT Ltd in Kenya: a lever of development for 1.800 smallholder farmers
By: Philippe Guichandut and Hélène Sananikone, Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation
It is undeniable that August 29, 2018 will be a memorable day for the employees and farmers who work at VERT Ltd in Kenya. This date marked the inauguration of the company’s new plant in Machakos, which will allow VERT Ltd to upgrade to a higher speed offering.
Up to now, this social enterprise, of which the Foundation is a shareholder since 2016, had only a smallwarehouse located near the airport in the outskirts of Nairobi. It was used as a storage for fresh vegetables (such as green beans and peas), mostly exported to the Netherlands and Belgium. The new plant includes two main buildings and was financed with the capital contribution of both the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation and Kampani, a Belgium investment fund that recently became a shareholder. This facility will not only allow VERT Ltd to increase the exports of fresh vegetables, but it might also foster the development of new product lines: the production of mango and passion fruit pulp intended mostly for the local market and the export of dried mango. Moreover, the plant includes a closed water circuit used in the process of pulp extraction as well as a water treatment system that will enable local consumption of drinking water.
The Foundation is proud of having participated in the inauguration next to VERT Ltd founders, Jane and Nderito Maina, the employees of the company and the representatives of smallholder farmers and local authorities (such as the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, the County Representative and the Micro Enterprise Support Programme Trust). From the perspective of the 1800 smallholder farmers VERT Ltd works with, this new facility is a lever to increase their revenues and to diversify their production at a significant extend. By creating stable market opportunities abroad and at local level, VERT Ltd will be able to reinforce its social and economic impact in the lives of smallholder farmers in Kenya.