Kenya: Kakuzi will continue to support small avocado producers
Nairobi – Kakuzi PLC, an integrated Kenyan agro-industrial company, has confirmed its intention to strengthen its smallholder avocado base as part of a shared prosperity business plan.
Along with smallholder development plans, the company is focusing on projects to expand and diversify agricultural production for its Macadamia, Blueberry, Livestock and Commercial Forestry business lines.
Speaking at the 93rd Annual General Meeting of Companies Listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE), held virtually, Kakuzi PLC Chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a said the company will invest more than $ 400 million this year. of shillings in capital expenditure (CAPEX) while focusing on the move upmarket of its smallholder. the value of operations to complement its production capacities and strengthen the global positioning of Kenyan lawyers. It is essential that the markets receive only good quality fruit from Kenya, and to achieve this it is very important to gain knowledge of the market requirements among the farmers, Ng’anga said.
Strategically, the company, which has 2,500 employees, continues to invest in the development of its main avocado, macadamia, forestry and livestock crops and in the experimentation of the new blueberry business. Investments in technology to reduce our environmental footprint and improve the quality of our products are also progressing well. He added that the company is also exploring value-added opportunities in a number of these crops and hopes that other exciting opportunities to diversify our income streams will arise when fully assessed.
“The Kakuzi avocado markets have remained strong, despite the almost complete closure of the food distribution business in our core markets. We expect a recovery in 2021, but this is not guaranteed. To mitigate this, we continue to negotiate with our traditional buyers as well as some new key players in 14 different countries, ”said Ng’ang’a.
At the AGM, the shareholders of the company voted unanimously for a KSh. 18 dividends per share, an increase of 28.5% compared to KSh. 14 dividends paid the previous year and making Kakuzi PLC one of the best performing investment companies in the NSE.
“The global market responds positively to Kenyan avocados due to their high potential to provide good quality fruit, but we need to work tirelessly to secure this market positioning by focusing on the quality aspects,” said Ng ‘ ang’a. He added that “to ensure this positioning in the market, Kakuzi will intensify its efforts to strengthen the capacity of our smallholders to meet the strict quality and phytosanitary standards required in world markets.”
The company, he added, has secured lucrative markets for Kenyan agricultural products such as avocados and macadamia and will continue to take a shared prosperity approach by integrating smallholder farmers.
Despite the challenges of the global Covid19 pandemic, Kakuzi’s development strategies, Ng’ang’a said, remain firmly on track to complete the company’s agricultural expansion and diversification projects and move the business forward. path to sustainability. “I am happy to report that the pandemic did not force us to lay off a staff member, in fact the number of our employees has increased, and we have also been able to honor our commitment to collective bargaining (CBA) with Kenya Plantation and Agriculture Union to further increase wages, ”he said.
Last year, Kakuzi, Ng’ang’a revealed, took yet another important step in its pursuit of excellence in corporate governance by publishing its first report on the environment, social and governance. (ESG). “As a board of directors, we recognize that such processes are a critically important journey in which one strives to achieve new standards all the time. The next ESG report will be published later this year, ”he said.
As part of the sustainability and governance journey, Kakuzi has developed an Operational Level Complaints Mechanism (OGM) to improve the rapid and sensitive resolution of complaints that any of its employees or stakeholders may have with the company.
Developing new operational policies and adopting globally referenced standards, Ng’ang’a said, is part of its commitment to adopt the highest possible protocols in its operations.
“The GMO is fully compliant with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and will be a fair, transparent and independent means to resolve any complaints related to Kakuzi’s operations.” The Council is also working to establish a high-level independent advisory committee on human rights. (IHRAC) whose role will be to provide independent advice to the Board of Directors on matters relating to governance structures and human rights, ”said Ng’ang’a.
As part of its employee and community health promotion program focused on preventive health services, Kakuzi last year employed a team of 13 public health workers to help protect its 2,900 employees from COVID. -19. The team is responsible for interacting with workers, performing health checks and providing valuable advice on a daily basis on compliance with public health regulations in all of the company’s housing and treatment units.
Last year, Kakuzi achieved strong results for the year, despite the uncertainty in its main sales markets caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company released a Kes. 848 million profit before tax, a decrease of 16% compared to Kes. 1,014 billion realized the previous year.
The company’s avocado and macadamia export volumes were higher than in 2019, but insufficient to mitigate a significant 34% reduction in avocado prices due to higher global supply.