Opportunity for Kenyan Farmers as KFC is hit with shortages.

Opportunity for Kenyan Farmers as KFC is hit with shortages.

It may come as a surprise to most of us to know that KFC has been sourcing its potatoes from overseas for their chips as we commonly know them. The same has raised a lot of concerns among Kenyans in the past 2 days. The greatest impediment for such a move has been quality concerns for Kenyan raw materials according to KFC.

However, KFC has lessened its take on the move and as said that they may start to source their materials from local suppliers who for that matter must meet their strict quality standards in a bid to service their chips (French fries) market which is a very huge one locally.

Recently, the fast-moving foods giant faced shortages of potatoes in their Kenyan market due to delays in the shipping from international suppliers. It forced the firm to offer its clients’ alternative foods in place of their favorite chips.

To a Kenyan farmer, this could be a great opportunity to take the supplies gap being occasioned by the delays. It however needs someone who understands quality in terms of the needs by the firm.

The failure by the firm to source potatoes locally over quality issues not only points to a seriously struggling agricultural sector but also a failure by the government to ensure that the policies they put in place are aimed at enabling the Kenyan farmer compete globally.

You can agree with me that whenever you walk into a chips mwitu (informal) vendor, you can notice a huge gap between the quality of fries you get to be served there compared to the ones that you get to eat at a KFC outlet. Occasionally, the quality of cooking has been thought to be the determinant issue.

But it should be known that the end product starts off with a good quality raw material. Ask any manufacturer around if a poor-quality raw material can result to a quality end product at the end of the day and none of them could answer you in the affirmative.

KFC has been in Kenya for some time now. The fact that they have not found even ‘one’ farmer who can meet their potato requirement in terms of quality and capacity means a lack of seriousness in exploiting such a great opportunity more likely from the Kenyan side.

The talk about having not found a single farmer to supply them with potatoes means a firm doing due diligence of searching from her part and a low-key willingness from the Kenyan farmer to seize up on the challenge maybe because of an understanding that they cannot meet the demands of the buyer or measure up to the competition.

Measuring up to the competition could in turn mean in terms of quality, capacity and price. Remember it is easier to plant onions in Baringo for example and transport them to Nairobi where they will be very expensive compared to their equivalent imported in from Uganda and Tanzania.

As much as we might want to blame international companies which import raw material even the ones we can have locally, it is high time we took the bigger share of the blame because simply we have been doing nothing in trying to be at bar with other international suppliers.

The fact that we now ride on the philosophy of everybody to bail themselves boils down to such a lack of objectiveness which will continue to hurt us big time. Alone, one can walk far. Together we can walk the farthest and despite us knowing all that, we have continued to walk alone.

The government walks alone positioning itself as the hunter and the farmer continues to walk alone depicting him/herself as the hunted. You wonder when the two will ever meet, sit down and know that none of them should be an enemy of the other rather their enemy should be the failure to meet global standards.

Once the enemy is neutralized, the Kenyan potato farmer will have capacity and quality potatoes to supply not only to KFC but also a dozen other international fast-food joints that are in the country.

The farmer will also have no problem exporting their agricultural produce to other countries such as the Egyptian farmers who have done so for almost a decade now in supplying potatoes to the KFC Kenyan market. And the government will be at joy as it will earn from the foreign exchange.

The challenge is on now, now that KFC has said that it will source its raw materials locally. And this when the say that opportunity favors the prepared comes into play. If there is a farmer who has been working well only waiting for the right time to become a KFC supplier, then the time is now.

For the unprepared, the chance is still available. How fast the response will be, how properly the dictates of standards will be met and how much capacity one’s muscle will be able to amaze will determine who takes the biggest pie.

The challenge is one Kenyan potato farmers.

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Politics, Policy, Technology, Current Affairs, Opinion, Agriculture, Energy, Education, Entrepreneurship, Governance, International Emerging Issues, Society, and culture. For featuring, promotions or support write to us at dailyfocus9@gmail.com
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