KENYA – Kenyan listed agri-business firm, Kakuzi PLC, has entered into a partnership with Driscoll’s, world’s leading marketer of berries, to grow the local and export volumes of blueberries.
Driscoll’s is the global market leader in fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.
With more than 100 years of farming heritage, the international company 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.
Kakuzi’s blueberry venture, which has been undergoing production and commercial trials at its 10-hectare orchard for the past two years, is part of the firm’s revenue diversification strategy.
The pilot commercial trials showcased Kakuzi’s potential in the berries market which has guided future investment and expansion plans.
“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,” Kakuzi PLC Managing Director Chris Flowers
While confirming the blueberry export plans, Kakuzi PLC Managing Director Chris Flowers said a Driscoll’s market evaluation team conducted a fact-finding tour of the firm’s orchards.
On his part, Garland Reiter, The Vice President of Global Blueberry Leadership for Driscoll’s, said, “Driscoll’s is proud to be associated with Kakuzi, and 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 to grow the regional demand for this superfood.”
The parties are evaluating the possibility of exporting premium Kakuzi Blueberries to the European, Middle, and Far East markets and further developing regional sales.
Some of its promising markets include China, where the company recently led a band of avocado exporters in flagging off the inaugural fresh avocado exports to the Asian market.
Driscoll’s serves consumers year-round with its products across North America, Australia, Europe and China in over twenty-two countries.
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.
This is set to improve its bottom-line performance from the current US$2.79m attained in the financial year ended December 2021, 48.6% decline in profits from the previous year’s US$5.43m.
The dip in the grower’s profitability is attributable to an 8.4 per cent slide in sales to Ksh.3.3 billion (US$28.8m) from Ksh.3.6 billion (US$31.41m) due to low avocado production and prices.