Established in 2015, Miyonga Fresh Greens exports fresh fruits, dry fruits, and vegetables to the UK, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Greece, and Ireland. From just 1.5 acres of land, Yvonne Otieno, CEO of Miyonga, expanded production to 20 acres of land and now outsources production through a network of over 5,000 out- growers.
40% of all products received from farmers go to waste, partly because fruits which are deemed as imperfect or “ugly” – but which nonetheless contain the same nutritional value – are rejected by buyers. This means that Miyonga farmers lose a significant portion of their income, since exporters and agro-processors only pay for the fruits they process. To mitigate this loss in income, Miyonga, through a 2017 partnership with the Kenya Industrial Research institute and Export Promotion Council in Kenya, began product development efforts to convert food waste into dried fruit snacks and powder.
Despite the above efforts however, Yvonne learned that she cannot sell more than 20% of its locally products since Miyonga is registered as an exporter in Kenya. This conundrum gave her the impetus to join the SheTrades programme. Through SheTrades’ workshops, Yvonne learned how to (re-)assess and (re-)develop its export strategy and preparedness, identify markets, and differentiate and position its products for these markets. Feedback from her clients also motivated her to expand her product line to include Kenya coffee and tea. By applying the social media and communication techniques taught during the workshop, Yvonne connected with a partner who is interested in partnering exclusively with Miyonga to sell dried fruits and fruit powder.
Ms. Otieno also participated in Macfrut Italy 2019, in Rimini, Italy, as part of the SheTrades in the Commonwealth delegation. At Macfrut, several buyers expressed keen interest in procuring fruits and dried fruits from Miyonga on a long-term basis and many have also requested samples from Miyonga for testing; Yvonne also met a potential investor who is interested in exploring a joint venture programme.
Reflecting on her SheTrades experience, Yvonne adds: “SheTrades offers the opportunity to learn, re-learn, develop, and implement practical strategies. This investment costs time - but it can lead to positive results in your balance sheet.”