Fresh Produce Consortium Kenya, the leading organization committed to promoting the production and supply of high-quality fresh horticultural produce in Kenya, has created an avocado and banana digital communication and marketing strategy.
The strategy is intended to address the information challenges by providing a framework for the effective digital promotion of Kenya’s avocado and bananas through digital media.
The strategy will guide on best practices to exploit the existing digital tools on the internet to better connect with stakeholders, improve information dissemination, change consumer attitudes and improve access to Kenya’s avocado and banana in the global marketplace.
Speaking during the launch of the strategy Benjamin Tito from the Horticulture Directorate decried the little exploitation of the two crops despite their nutritional and financial potential. He said the body is working with farmers to improve the yield from the existing varieties and working with stakeholders to embark on value addition. Already the country is targeting new processed products from the traditional known exports including oils, flours, and wines which provides a new avenue source for stakeholders to make money.
“We are also introducing new technologies that will remove the seasonality of the exports and make avocados from Kenya an all-year-round product. This includes non-destructive testing from New Zealand that ensures all our exports are mature and we can provide the buyer with the quality they are looking for at all times. This will give the country an edge over other competitors limited by their off-season”
Further, stakeholders add that Kenya needs to expand the source of these crops from the existing traditional growing regions. To this end, the Kenya Crops & Dairy Market Systems (KCDMS) is introducing both bananas and avocados to twelve counties in the eastern, coast, north rift, and western regions in a bid to increase production. According to KCDMS, the program is introducing varieties that have demand both locally and internationally and supporting value addition through linkages to financial institutions.
“For Bananas specifically, KCDMS has identified that potential can only be realized starting with access to healthy growing materials, capacity building of growers through cooperatives which can then get access to finance and training and thereafter develop industries for value addition. For avocados, Kenya can export more by planting the Hass and Fuerte varieties as the dominant local variety representing the large percentage of the produce fetch low prices locally unless value-added”, he said.
The Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya also wants to market the local produce globally on the basis it is grown naturally unlike the country’s competitors with little or no synthetic fertilizers making it healthy for consumers.
Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya CEO Okisegere Ojepat commented: “At a time when the consumer is demanding sustainable farming habits in a bid to change the climate change course our crops grown along the equator with pure sunlight in natural conditions are in great demand. Our produce is superior from a nutritional to a palate level.”
The country has also been encouraged to exploit existing identified demand for products from countries like South Korea, providing a new revenue avenue. To trade with such a market the country needs a reliable logistics process with opportunities for airlines including the national airline to have a direct flight with the Asian country.
“Through the digital communication & marketing strategy for Kenyan avocados & bananas the country can embark on strategic branding and positioning of the Kenyan avocado and banana through content generation as a method of generating traffic with the ultimate goal that Kenya can be recognized as an industry leader globally,” concludes Beatrice Mwasi CEO at Center for Business Innovation and Training.