With more Kenyans becoming conscious of what they eat, Twiga Foods is setting up facilities to test fruits and vegetables sourced from farmers for pesticide residues to ensure the safety of consumers.
Under the KSh 23 million plan Twiga has agreed to be the first domestic company to regularly test Maximum Residue Levels.
On average, Twiga Foods handles 130 tonnes of produce daily. In addition to testing samples of produce, farmers supplying produce to the firm will also be trained on the safe use of agrochemicals.
Announcing the initiative, the COO of Twiga Foods, Kikonde Mwatela said that this illustrates the firm’s commitment to ensure that the highest standards of food safety are maintained from farm to fork.
“We are proactively and voluntarily introducing standards in the domestic market for agricultural produce, comparable to those in the export market. Twiga Foods is committed to ensuring the highest quality is delivered to consumers, even as we maintain access to reliable markets by farmers and efficiently delivery produce to vendors,” Mr Mwatela added.
“Kenya loses up to 30 per cent of agricultural to post-harvest losses between the farm and the market. We not only provide logistics to efficiently deliver this to the vendors, but also the last mile cold storage and warehousing. This is to ensure that consumers get fresh high-quality produce, which will be further enhanced by testing and training of farmers,” the Twiga Foods COO added.
The periodic testing of farm produce is meant to address consumer concerns over the contamination of agricultural produce with agrochemicals.
Twiga Foods is involved in initiatives to set up these standards, in partnership with AFA and KALRO.
The food safety initiative follows the recent signing of a $5 million letter of commitment in financing from the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to expand Twiga Foods’ distribution network and improve food security and agricultural wages in Kenya.