Shalem Investments Ltd, a grantee of the FoodTrade East & Southern Africa programme, has launched a grain and pulses processing plant in Meru to enable smallholder farmers from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to access primary processing facilities.
The processing plant is part of a wider project funded by the UK government through the Food Trade ESA programme which aims to build capacity of smallholder farmers to produce the quality and quantities of grains and pulses that will allow them to participate in regional trade.
“By setting up the processing plant, we will enable smallholder farmers to move further up the value chain from market takers to market makers,” said Ruth Kinoti, CEO of Shalem Investments Ltd.
In a mutually beneficial relationship, farmers in the county will also have access to processed food at an affordable price for domestic consumption, helping to strengthen food security at the household level.
The project covers Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Nyamira, Homa Bay, Laikipia, Nakuru and Kitui in Kenya, and we source produce from smallholder farmers in Uganda and Tanzania through our agents.
“In this facility we have state of the art equipment such as mobile dryer, a grain & legume cleaner, an aflatoxin testing facility, as well as a milling plant. Grains that will be processed include maize, beans, sorghum, millet, soybeans and green grams.
Shalem Investment Ltd focuses on incentivising farmers and aggregators to take responsibility for the quality of produce available for consumption and sale. This has increased their bargaining power for better prices.
By working closely with farmers, the company is attracting higher rewards from buyers for the improved quality of its produce, translating to better prices for farmers and aggregators. “With support from the FoodTrade ESA programme, we work with smallholder farmers to increase their ability to produce what the market needs.
We train them in climate smart agriculture, work with producer groups to build awareness of grades and standards, help them aggregate their produce and give them access to machinery and equipment,” she said.