In a significant stride towards enhancing trade relations and agricultural growth, the US government, in collaboration with Kenstate, a leading Kenyan coconut processing company, has announced a joint investment project amounting to $1.6 million. The project aims to not only expand Kenstate’s exports to the United States but also create substantial market opportunities for over 4,500 Kenyan coconut farmers.
Supported by Feed the Future and Prosper Africa funding, facilitated by the United States Agency for International Development, this strategic initiative is poised to uplift Kenstate’s processing capabilities by an impressive 67 percent, enabling the firm to process up to 50,000 coconuts daily.
Meg Whitman, the US Ambassador to Kenya, highlighted the transformative impact of such collaborations, stating, that partnerships like this enhance trade, transforms lives, and combats food waste and its impacts on climate change. Whitman also added that sustainable growth and international collaboration are key to the prosperity of both Kenya and the United States.
One of the project’s key objectives is to significantly reduce food loss and wastage. Over the next two years, the initiative seeks to eliminate a staggering 32,500 liters of wastage. At the same time, the project is set to generate approximately 90 full-time employment opportunities and enlist 1,500 new growers as suppliers, thus catalyzing economic opportunities for Kenyan farmers.
The collaboration also paves the way for Kentaste, the coconut processor, to establish strong ties with major US retailers. These retailers are poised to carry Kentaste’s premium coconut water products, thereby expanding access to the US market for Kenyan coconut offerings.
This strategic venture couldn’t come at a better time for Kenya, as the country experiences stable demand for local processing and export of coconuts. The United States is a primary importer of Kenyan nuts, followed by Germany and the Netherlands, underscoring the global demand for high-quality coconut products from the region.
The Kenyan coconut processor is known for producing and distributing an array of coconut-based products, including coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut flour, virgin coconut oil, and desiccated coconut. With a strong commitment to sustainable practices, Kentaste collaborates with a network of some 2,700 smallholder farmers, many of whom are organic and fair trade certified.
The collaboration resonates with the projected growth of the global coconut products market. According to Research and Markets, the market size is anticipated to reach an impressive $38.58 billion by 2030. This surge is primarily driven by the increasing demand for coconut products like coconut milk, coconut water, and desiccated coconut within the dynamic food and beverage industry.