Twiga foods on Monday signed an agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to help boost food safety in the country.
The initiative, which was termed by IFC Regional Director for Eastern Africa as a rare one, is for the purpose of applying global quality certification to food products destined for the domestic, rather than export market.
The Twiga food platform uses mobile phone technology to connect smallholder farmers in rural areas to informal retail vendors in the cities. Basically, Twiga helps in transferring food produce from the farm to a retailer who will sell it to city dwellers.
Under the new agreement, IFC will advise the company (Twiga foods) on food safety and quality management systems in its produce handling facilities. Twiga’s staff will also be trained on internationally accepted practices.
The agreement comes as an addition to a Ksh. 1 billion investment into Twiga Foods, made in November 2018. IFC, Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) and TL com- a Pan-African venture capital firm contributed to the investment to help Twiga expand operations and offer new services.
“IFC’s investment in Twiga Foods will improve food safety standards while ensuring fair prices and transparent sourcing from smallholder farmers. We commend Twiga on their commitment to global best practices, that will give Kenyan consumers of all income levels access to quality food products,” IFC’s Regional Director for Eastern Africa, Jumoke Jagun Dokunmu, said after signing the agreement.
After the partnership, Twiga will now work with IFC to coach farmers on the best agricultural practices and ensure that products are fully traceable. The project will initially work with 30 pilot farms across 20 counties to achieve GLOBAL G.A.P. certification, the worldwide standard for safe and sustainable agriculture, by end of next year. IFC will also support Twiga on agronomic practices to improve productivity, irrigation, and soil health, and better access to finance for Twiga’s growers.
“Food safety is an important consideration in our mission to provide affordable, quality, and safe food to Kenya’s urban consumers, and reliable markets for farmers. This is the reason we are constantly reviewing our operating procedures, making strategic investments and striking strategic partnerships with institutions such as IFC to deliver and surpass global standards,” Twiga Foods’ Chief Executive Officer Peter Njonjo said.
Now that they have support from IFC, Twiga Foods aims to have attained 100% product traceability and Global G.A.P compliance from its contracted suppliers.