MALAWI – Kevian Kenya Ltd, a Kenyan-based food and beverage manufacturer, is exploring its entry into the Malawian market following invitation by the country’s president Dr. Lazarus Chakwera.

Kevian Kenya is the manufacturer of popular Afia and Pick n Peel fruit juices distributed in East and Southern Africa. It also produces energy drinks, non-alcoholic malt drinks, and tomato sauce, among other goods.

The Malawian President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has asked Kimani Rugendo, the owner of the company, to consider investing in Malawi where fruits are readily available to serve as raw material for his business.

Chakwera in turn promised to set up investor friendly policies that will enable Kevian and other businesses to thrive, support the economy, and increase the country’s exports.

“I have urged Mr. Rugendo to consider Malawi as his next investment destination because we have a large contingent of fruit farmers across the country whose abundant yield is a readily available raw material in the agro-processing operations,” wrote the Malawi President on his Facebook page.

“I am glad that Mr. Rugendo has assured me to explore where within our market can his venture make a positive difference. He is also considering bringing on board other Kenyan private sector players to follow suit.”

Mr. Rugendo founded Kevian Kenya in 1992 after quitting politics, with the Mt Kenya water brand being his first product.

The company has since gone from strength to strength and in 2014 started production of non-alcoholic malt drinks to take on soft drinks giant Coca-Cola and regional brewer East African Breweries, which have similar products.

To ensure a constant supply of fresh produce, Kevian has partnered with GTZ, Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA), and the Agriculture Ministry to offer extension services to farmers.

In July 2020, Kevian ventured into the potato production business after signing a deal with the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO).

The plan would see Kevian commercialize five of KALRO’s high-yielding potato seed varieties to boost the production of varieties required by multinational franchises, which had long depended on imports.

KALRO awarded Kevian a 15-year contract to produce potato tubers targeting 50,000 farmers. The deal would see Kevian remit 2.5% of its annual sales to KALRO.

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