The International Finance Corporation (IFC) which is a member of the World Bank Group has entered into an agreement with Twiga Foods a Kenyan-based technology food distribution platform. The partnership will go towards to boosting the company’s food safety practices in line with global standards and ensure traceability of produce from the farm to consumers.
Twiga Foods was founded by Grant Brooke and Peter Njonjo in 2014. It works by linking smallholder farmers in rural Kenya to informal retail vendors in cities. With Twiga’s mobile platform, vendors can be able order fresh produce from farmers across Kenya at the most competitive prices.
The partnership marks a move to apply global quality certification to food products destined for the domestic, rather than export market. Under the initiative, IFC will advise the company on food safety and quality management systems in its produce handling facilities. Twiga’s staff will also be trained on internationally-accepted practices.
Twiga Foods will work with IFC to coach farmers on agricultural best 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. By March 2021, Twiga hopes to have attained 100 percent product traceability and GLOBAL G.A.P. compliance from its contracted suppliers.
The agreement adds to a $10 million investment in Twiga Foods, made in November 2018, led by IFC, the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) and TLcom- a Pan-African venture capital firm to expand operations and offer new services.
Jumoke Jagun-Dokunmu, IFC Regional Director for Eastern Africa said “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.”
Twiga Foods’ Chief Executive Officer, Peter Njonjo, had this to say, “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 is the largest domestic distributor of food produce in Kenya, handling an average of 130 tons of produce daily. The produce is sourced from 13,000 farmers, aggregated from Twiga’s collection points across 20 counties and is distributed to 10,000 vendors in Nairobi and neighboring counties.