KENYA – Twiga Foods, a Kenyan-based technology food distribution platform, has partnered with International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank’s private sector lending arm, in an initiative that seeks to boost food safety in Kenya.

The companies have signed an agreement to collaborate in enhancing food safety practices in line with global standards and ensure traceability of produce from the farm to consumers.

The agreement adds to a $10 million investment in Twiga Foods, made in November 2018, led by IFC, the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) and TLcom- a Pan-African venture capital firm to expand operations and offer new services.

Under the new agreement, IFC will advise the company on food safety and quality management systems in its produce handling facilities while at the same time training Twiga Foods’ staff on internationally-accepted practices.  

Twiga Foods, which uses an innovative mobile technology to connect smallholder farmers in rural areas to informal retail vendors in cities, will in turn train food handlers within the country targeting to disseminate skills to all farmers in its network by 2021.

The initiative seeks to train all value chain players – farmers, processors and vendors- in applying global quality certification to products destined for the domestic market.

“Food safety is an important consideration in our mission to provide affordable, quality, and safe food to Kenya’s urban consumers, and reliable markets for farmers.

This is the reason we are constantly reviewing our operating procedures, making strategic investments and striking strategic partnerships with institutions such as IFC to deliver and surpass global standards,” Said, Peter Njonjo Twiga Foods Chief Executive Officer.

The project will initially work with 30 pilot farms across 20 counties to achieve global good agricultural practices certification, the worldwide standard for safe and sustainable agriculture, by end of next year.

IFC will also support Twiga on agronomic practices to improve productivity, irrigation, and soil health, and better access to finance for Twiga’s growers.

Jumoke Jagun-Dokunmu, IFC Regional Director for Eastern Africa said “IFC’s investment in Twiga Foods will improve food safety standards while ensuring fair prices and transparent sourcing from smallholder farmers.

“We commend Twiga on their commitment to global best practices, that will give Kenyan consumers of all income levels access to quality food products.”

“An important component of this deal is the transfer knowledge gained from other economies such as Zambia, Uganda and Zambia where IFC has similar initiatives,” added Jumoke Jagun-Dokunmu, IFC regional director for Eastern Africa.