Kenyan herb farmer ready to let new air cargo service fly his produce out of lake region

Kenyan herb farmer ready to let new air cargo service fly his produce out of lake region

The recently launched Kenyan Airways (KQ) air cargo service from the Kisumu International Airport in the West of that country has local growers excited. They are now, through this new service, able to sell and get their produce to interested markets such as Germany and the Netherlands much quicker. In this way they can send fresher products and realise better prices. The cargo flights specifically aimed to assist producers in the Kenya Lake region, started with the inaugural test flights on 8 January this year (2022). One such farmer hoping to take advantage of the cargo flights is Joseph Opondo, owner and grower of herbs at his farm Tangla Gardens, situated in Tangla Village in Siaya County, West Kenya, about 450 km’s from the capital Nairobi close to the Kenya and Uganda border.

“We are the pioneers and will be one of the first to export. We are aiming to bring along more growers and exporters. The farming business is my own initiative. I travelled all over the world and I felt I could also do it,” explains Opondo. He grows herbs such as thyme, oregano, parsley, mint, spearmint and Moroccan mint, coriander, sage and rosemary. He also grows garlic, strawberries and what he calls “red thunder” (red chilli peppers).

Opondo says there is strong interest in their herbs from Germany and the Netherlands. Getting his business export ready involved the help of a lot of experts in the form of Simon Andys, from Premier seeds in Kenya. “We also have promise of support from Inspira Farms in Kenya. We also have a packhouse. The weather in the region is ideal while the ground is fertile and good for growing herbs.”

“We have employed 19 people. Once we are exporting, I expect the number to rise to about 25 when we are in full production. We hope to expand and grow the business to the UK and UAE. Our main challenges were access to financial resources to be able to buy seeds, develop the land and install irrigation, pay labour, to buy tractors, machinery, pipes and the rest. Fortunately, the land was already mine,” explained Opondo. The KQ air cargo carrier will now provide exporters from Kisumu and the lake region reliable and rapid connectivity to consumer markets across their global network. Fresh produce items such as avocados, fish, chilies, mangoes, pineapple, peanuts, bananas and traditional green vegetables will be the main […]

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