Despite promising to source raw potatoes from Kenyan farmers, American fast food retail giant Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has refused to disclose required standards to farmers.
Speaking to a local daily, KFC said that it does “not disclose proprietary information around sourcing and pricing”.
This deals a blow to Kenyan potato farmers who were hoping to reap big from KFC, after the food retailer promised to buy potatoes locally.
“Although we currently import our French fries, there is an opportunity to source the potatoes from a local supplier that meets the global KFC quality and safety specifications in the near future. Unfortunately, the quality and safety specifications for new supplies are proprietary to KFC,” said the firm’s chief executive for East Africa Jacques Theunissen, following a public uproar after KFC ran out of potatoes.
Currently, KFC imports processed, pre-blanched, blast-frozen potato French fries from Egypt and South Africa “because it has total traceability back to the source”.
However, the American firm is currently facing a shortage of supplies from its overseas suppliers, forcing it to offer alternatives in its combo meals.
The chains maintain that they import potatoes to ensure global standards are met across their outlets. Their stance has been the subject of debate and policy adjustments. In July 2021, the National Treasury introduced a 30 percent duty on imports of potatoes.
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani announced that the duty would apply to crop coming from outside the East African Community (EAC), maintaining that the move was meant to safeguard farmers’ interests.
KFC opened its first branch in Kenya on August 12, 2011, in Nairobi, with its main competitors being various South African fast-food brands, including Steers and Debonairs.