In 2019, it was estimated that Kenyan farmers exported KES 6.5 billion worth of herbs and spices. However, this is only 2% of the global export market. Generally, a lot less herbs were exported as compared to what was produced. This gap is majorly attributed to a lack of Global G.A.P certification amongst farmers. Local farmers have a great opportunity because no matter how hard we try, we have not been able to satisfy the market. Demand is too high.
These are the words of Ruth Munyoro, co-founder of Eat More Worldwide which is one of Kenya’s biggest herb growers and exporters. While speaking on the Mazao Talks podcast, Ms. Munyoro outlines the path to success.
“Pesa iko kwa mchanga, for example when growing basil, as long as you follow the guidelines and implement Good Agricultural Practices(G.A.P) you will recover all your investment in three harvests. Basil takes only six weeks from planting to harvest.”
According to research conducted by UNIDO and Mark-Up Kenya, Kenya’s potential for growth in the herbs and spices market is extremely vast and this has the potential of transforming the livelihoods of young people.
The research recommends a professional approach to agribusiness starting with working hand in hand with qualified agronomists and the use of certified seeds when planting.
Farmers are also encouraged to consider the level of infrastructure development around their farm as this will likely impact produce transport to and from their facilities. Currently, the biggest herb and spice buyers are based in the UK, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.
Ms. Munyoro, also advises young farmers to start where they were and network amongst themselves in order to achieve their goals.
“No matter what problem you have, there’s always somebody with the solution. Seek out partnerships and opportunities to collaborate and you will succeed.”
By Nepurko Keiwua