Bidco Africa seeks to contract women and youth suppliers of sunflower and bamboo. Agribusiness development lead Mr John Kariuki said they seek to engage those whose size of farms are more than an acre.
"Those without land should not be discouraged. They can lease,” he said during a September 15 webinar on Opportunities for Youth and Women in Agribusiness organised by Invest in Africa. The firm buys a kilogram of high quality sunflower at Sh32.
For bamboo growers, he said, their plantations have to be located within 200km radius from Thika.
The distance caveat shoulders farmers from incurring losses because transport cost may override the earnings, hence the nearer the farm, the higher the chances of better returns.
The firm buys a kilogram of bamboo at Sh5.50. Bamboo is used to fire boiler
Apart from buying their produce, the firm will offer contracted farmers technical support, he said.
Bidco Africa, Mr Kariuki said, believes in enhancing economic growth through empowerment of women and youth thus the extension of business opportunities.
"We should be able to enhance (our) economic prosperity by investing in women and young generation," he said.
Bidco Africa, a manufacturer of edible oils, hygiene and personal products, food and beverages as well as animal feeds, is the latest profit-making institution to bolster women's efforts to succeed in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
International Trade Centre (ITC), Standard Chartered Kenya and Strathmore University's and Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) have established various schemes for the benefit of women in various ventures including agribusiness.
SheTrades in the Commonwealth Kenya, is for instance, an initiative of ITC. The initiative not only connects women to the market but also provides them with resources, information and tools to sustain their businesses during the pandemic. The initiative was launched in April, 2018.
Women running businesses in sectors of textiles and apparel and agriculture including tea, coffee, horticulture especially avocado, beans and peas can take advantage of the initiative’s benefits.
Those in tourism as well as Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing are also among female entrepreneurs targeted by the initiative
SheTrades national coordinator Ms Phyllis Mwangi said 744 Small and Micro Enterprises owned by women have so far gained from various trainings on trade related skills.
“They have gone through various trainings such as export preparedness, branding for international markets for textiles companies, digital marketing and cloud technology and digital infrastructure,” she said.
Under the initiative, 261 businesses have been connected to international buyers through trade fairs and in-country business linkage events.
Women in Technology Program by Standard Chartered Kenya and Strathmore University's business centre @iBizAfrica is also another business facility for women in business.
The programme that has been running since 2017, builds women’s businesses through credit and training on business improvement and growth.
A call is made annually and one can apply for the programme through an online application to @iBizAfrica.
Successful applicants are put through a 12-week training on various topics on business growth such as book-keeping, leveraging on technology and branding. Outstanding SMEs are then awarded credit to boost their businesses.
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