KENYA – Kentaste, a Kenyan coconut processor has partnered with the US government to launch a US$1.6 million combined investment project to expand the processor’s exports to the US market.
The project named ‘Feed the Future and Prosper Africa funding’ supported by the United States Agency for International Development is set to increase Kentaste’s processing capacity by 67% to 50,000 coconuts per day.
The project is also expected to create economic opportunities for more than 4,500 Kenyan farmers by generating 90 full-time jobs and enrolling 1,500 new growers as suppliers.
Feed the Future and Prosper Africa Funding also aims to eliminate 32,500 litres of food loss and wastage over the next two years.
“Through partnerships like this, we are enhancing trade, transforming lives, and combating food waste and its impacts on climate change. Sustainable growth and international collaboration are key to the prosperity of both our countries,” Meg Whitman, US ambassador to Kenya said.
In addition, he highlighted that the funding is also expected to increase the supply of coconuts, at a time when Kenya is experiencing a stable demand from local processors and the export market.
The collaboration will also secure ties with two major US retailers, who will carry Kentaste’s coconut water products, further expanding access to the US market for Kenyan coconut products.
The United States has held the lead as the major Kenyan nuts buyer, followed by Germany and the Netherlands.
A report from the Nuts and Oil Crops Directorate showed that in 2020, 110,013 tons of coconuts were produced and valued at US$34387.89 indicating a slight decrease in 2021 with 86,554 tons produced and valued at US$37826.68.
According to Research and Markets, the global coconut products market size is expected to reach US$38.58 billion by 2030, majorly driven by increased demand for coconut products such as coconut milk, coconut water, and desiccated coconut in the food and beverage industry.
Founded in 2008, Kentaste produces and distributes a wide range of coconut-based products including coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut flour, virgin coconut oil, and desiccated coconut.
The firm works with a network of 2,700 smallholder farmers, mostly organic and fair trade certified.
Earlier this year, the Cabinet Secretary of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Alfred Mutua visited the company to see through an existing collaboration with the Mennonite Economic Development Association (MEDA Canadian).
Mutua said that Kenstate had increased the number of smallholder suppliers from 1500-3000 and enhanced its output from 30-60 MT per year making Kentaste Kenya’s largest processor of coconut products.
Currently, Kentaste is processing hundreds of thousands of coconuts through a commitment to innovation which means the company has production lines structured to take advantage of the amazing versatility of the coconut.