Kenya: Kakuzi signs new blueberry export plan with Driscoll’s

  • Kakuzi, a listed Kenyan agri-business, has partnered with marketing firm Driscoll’s to launch a blueberry export plan
  • Under the deal, the two firms plan to grow the local and export volumes of blueberry in Kenya 
  • The blueberry venture, which has been undergoing production and commercial trials, is part of Kakuzi’s revenue diversification strategy

Kenya has announced plans to export blueberries into the international market, following a partnership between Kakuzi and Driscoll’s.

On August 12, 2022, the listed Kenyan business signed a deal with Driscoll’s, a global market leader in fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, to grow the local and export volumes of blueberry.

Kakuzi PLC Managing Director Chris Flowers said Driscoll’s market evaluation team conducted a fact-finding tour of the firm’s orchards in Makuyu, Murang’a county, prior to launching the blueberry export plan.

Driscoll’s team comprised 13 senior sourcing, Technical and market development executives led by Driscoll’s Vice President of Global Blueberry Leadership, Garland Reiter. The Driscoll’s delegation was conducted on a guided tour of the 10-hectare blueberry orchards at Kakuzi.

According to Flowers, the blueberry export plan, which have been undergoing production and commercial trials, is part of the firm’s revenue diversification strategy.

Renown as the trusted brand for only the finest berries, Driscoll’s is evaluating the possibility of importing premium Kakuzi Blueberries to the European, Middle, and Far East markets and further developing regional sales.

Speaking from Makuyu, Flowers said that the commercial blueberry trials that commenced two years ago had returned some exciting outcomes that will guide the firm’s future investments and expansion for the particular crop.

In the last financial year, Kakuzi disclosed that the firm’s Blueberry production had grown in the previous financial year. The current blueberry production has been fully sold in the local and export markets.

“Kakuzi’s pilot commercial trials have done what they were meant to do, and we have learnt a lot in preparation for our future expansion plans in this blueberry venture,” Flowers said.

“Growing superfoods is what we do and adding blueberries to our core crops of avocados and macadamia will help Kakuzi to diversify its operations even further for the benefit of our shareholders. Having Driscoll’s here is exciting; they bring a wealth of knowledge to us, and we look forward to our journey together.”

Commenting on the blueberry export plans, Reiter, the Vice President of Global Blueberry Leadership for Driscoll’s, said that the developments at Kakuzi heralded the dawn of blueberry exports to the international market.

Reiter said that Driscoll’s is looking forward to the possibility of exporting Kenyan Blueberries to China.

Kakuzi MD Chris Flowers (r) and Garland Reiter, The Vice President of Global Blueberry Leadership for Driscoll’s (l). Photo: Kakuzi.

“Driscoll’s is proud to be associated with Kakuzi. We hope that the current production volumes will be significantly scaled up as this is an opportunity to grow the volume of blueberries produced in Kenya and grow the regional demand for this superfood. Kakuzi’s recent entry into China with its avocados is also very encouraging.”

Boost to Kenya’s exports as Kakuzi starts selling Avocado to China

Within Kakuzi’s revenue diversification strategy, the firm is set to continue developing a range of additional value-added consumer products for the domestic and regional markets.

Such products include frozen and ready-to-eat blueberries and high-quality roasted macadamia snacks sold in local supermarkets and greengrocery retail stores.

Kakuzi will tap into Driscoll’s 100 years plus experience of farming heritage.

According to Kakuzi, Driscoll’s is a pioneer of berry flavour innovation and the trusted consumer brand of Only the Finest Berries.

With more than 900 independent growers worldwide, Driscoll’s develops exclusive patented berry varieties using only traditional breeding methods that focus on growing great-tasting berries.

Driscoll’s now serves consumers year-round across North America, Australia, Europe and China in over twenty-two countries.

The blueberry export plans come days after Kenya-grown fresh avocado fruits sourced from Kakuzi Plc hit the largest fresh fruit wholesale market in East China.

The premium fruits which arrived in Shanghai, China, on August 4 were stocked at the Shanghai Huizhan Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale Market just a day after the inaugural consignment’s phytosanitary and customs clearance.

With the stocking in a Chinese retail outlet, Kakuzi has completed the import voyage that commenced a week earlier for the inaugural export consignment and has become the first African firm to undertake commercial sales of Avocados on Chinese soil officially.

Sunripe flags off first fresh avocados cargo to China

Wanjiku Njuguna is a Kenyan-based business reporter with experience of more than eight years.

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