On Friday 23 November 2018, Twiga Foods Limited, an agricultural marketing firm with a revolutionary new approach to the Kenyan fresh food value chain, offered the Department of Horticulture and Food Security an inspiring industrial seminar. Specifically targeting the final year students of the department, the seminar highlighted Twiga’s original food marketing strategy, which provides numerous opportunities for young professionals in the agricultural sector.
The Twiga resource team included the CEO- Mr. Grant Brooke, the Administrative & HR Manager-Ms. Angela Ng’ethe, the Head of Legal and Administration- Mr. Daniel Ngugi and a talent acquisition team, led by Ms Stella Njeruh. Representing JKUAT, the Dean, School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (SOAES)-Prof E.M. Ateka, the Chair of Department, Dr. F. K. Wanzala, and a number of faculty of the SOAES were in attendance.
The company strategy is centred upon reshaping the Kenyan agribusiness landscape by offering both farmers and retailers stabilized pricing and assured markets through a technology-based agribusiness system. To do so, it has developed a mobile-phone based supply platform, allowing grocers to access better quality products delivered directly to their sales point. This stratagem seeks to replace the increasingly redundant informal market structures, providing vendors with a simple android-based app for stock purchases built around an information based marketing system. Benefits of this strategy include increased efficiencies in the supply chain, predictable pricing for farmer’s crops, the reduction of waste and enhanced product quality, to the ultimate benefit of the consumer.
The students were offered the opportunity to participate in the company’s vision through a competitive internship program, available to those that have the unique skill set and mental attitude necessary in a professional agricultural environment. Based on experience gained through interacting with departmental alumni working in the firm, the Twiga team expressed confidence that the JKUAT-Agriculture program, and the graduates it produces, provides a rich human resource for the company’s anticipated expansion. The audience reaction to the presentations was enthusiastic, with the interactive session generating extended discussion and personal queries arising from individuals with interests in the different aspects of the food value chain.
The Department of Horticulture and Food Science intends to strengthen and continually develop this and similar linkages with industry, in the fulfilment of its institutional mission.