Kenya: Nairobi's local fresh produce appetite thrives greenhouse industry

A decision by Nairobi hotels and big retail outlets to buy fresh produce directly from local farmers is changing the fortunes of hundreds of agripreneurs around the city, lifting the gloom that difficult market conditions had left on the sector in the past.

Daniel Muiruri, a medium-scale farmer at Isinya township South of Nairobi, says selling fresh produce directly to hoteliers has assured him of a regular market for his produce.

“I have been struggling to meet growing demand, thanks to an emerging trend where hotels buy directly from farmers,” he said.

Mr Muiruri, who is the director of Jidan Enterprises, has a 10-acre farm in Isinya that is dedicated to horticultural farming and is one of the major suppliers of ArtCaffe, a leading upmarket restaurant group in Nairobi.

In a relationship that has lasted for over six years, Mr Muiruri says he has not only increased the area under cultivation and boosted his revenue, but also created more than 50 jobs.

“Sometimes I do not meet demand. The market has really expanded. While I make every effort to deliver produce in time knowing how important this is, I also love the way they are prompt in paying,” said Mr Muiruri.

Investing in modern irrigation techniques and greenhouses has not only helped him to cultivate more crops from the same piece of land but has also allowed him to produce all year round.

“When you enter into partnerships with buyers you have to keep your end of the bargain to remain in business,” he said, an approach that has seen him win more clients.

He now supplying farm produce to schools and supermarkets as well as other hotels.


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