List of agricultural companies in Kenya
Agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan economy owing to its massive contribution to the country’s Gross Product (GDP). On average, agriculture contributes approximately 24% of the GDP directly, and about 27% indirectly through related sectors such as distribution and manufacturing companies. Furthermore, the primary exports of Kenya include agricultural produce. Also, over 70% of Kenyans earn their living from having occupations in the agriculture industry. On the other hand, Agricultural companies in Kenya serve as a ready market for farmers produce. For example, the textile and clothing industry depend on wool from sheep kept by farmers, a paper processing plant needs trees to make paper and pesticide manufacturing firms require pyrethrum to make its products. Even though there are plenty of agribusiness and agricultural companies in Kenya, the article below will highlight the ten of the most popular agricultural firms in the country.
Agriculture in Kenya
No one can dispute that the agriculture sector is the backbone of Kenya’s economy. We have listed different companies in this sector, contributing either directly or indirectly as highlighted in the percentages above.
List of agricultural companies in Kenya
1. Kenya Tea Packers LTD (KETEPA)
Kenya Tea Packers LTD commonly known as KETEPA is the leading Kenyan company that specializes in packed tea operations. The company began its operations back in 1978 after being registered in September 1977. Initially, KETEPA only produced tea for sale within the local market; however, after Law amendment in 1992, it started exporting the product to various nations across the globe. KETEPA central headquarters are in Kericho, which is known for having several big tea farms. Tea leaves picking is one of the leading economic activities for the residents in Kericho.
Besides tea blending and packaging, KETEPA has also delved into the processing of cold beverages for the Kenyan market. The company is the manufacturer of Maisha drinking water that I am sure you have come across while doing your shopping. KETEPA objectives are to focus more on export opportunities in developed nations which prefers tea quality as opposed to the prices.
KETEPA Ltd belongs to several of tea farmers through cooperatives such as the Kenya Tea Development Agency Limited (KTDA) and the Kenya Tea Growers Association (KTGA). KTDA is the principal shareholder of the agribusiness venture with approximately 450,000 small scale tea growers from across Kenya. These small-scale farmers manage over sixty tea processing plants that account for nearly 60% of the yields. Besides the two shareholders, there are others like Brooke Bond Kenya Limited (Unilever tea) that own 38 tea plants and harvest over 40% of the total tea output.
2. Kenya Nut Company
The Kenya Nut Company founded in 1972 is among the best companies in Kenya. Initially, Kenya Nut which sits in the Kenyan Highlands mainly focused on the cultivation of quality macadamia and cashew nuts. With time, the agricultural company has expanded its operations to include the manufacture of oils, coffee, and chocolates.
Kenya Nut employs over four thousand personnel who work in the seven farms it owns that are spread out in over 8,000 acres. Moreover, the firm concerns itself with a robust production structure from seedlings to a superior finished good that will be competitive in the international market. To add to this, Kenya Nut ensures that all the Macadamia nuts and Coffee harvested from the firm’s farm are organic and the manufacture of the product conducts in HACCP environs.
3. Delmonte Kenya
Delmonte Company is a prominent Kenya food processing firm that manages the growing, manufacture, and canning of pineapple products. Delmonte Company has several farms in Thika where it grows its crops to use as raw materials. Some of the products produced at the company include solid canned pineapple, mill juice sugar, and juice concentrate as well as cattle feeds. The company is widely known as the only manufactured export for canned pineapple, and it puts Kenya as one of the top five pineapple exporters in the globe. The reason for Delmonte Company success is due to the firm’s existence and how it operates.
Besides pineapples, Delmonte uses raw materials like strawberry, mangoes, lemons, oranges, guavas, and pawpaw among others. Presently, more Kenyans are becoming health conscious, and fruits are known for their several health benefits which make many farmers engage in fruit cultivation more than ever before. Because the fruits can use as raw inputs in the manufacture of bottled fruit juice that can sell to the people; this is what Delmonte started doing a long time ago, and it is why the firm is one of the best companies in Kenya.
4. Unga Group
Unga Group PLC is one of the favorite Kenyan-based companies specializing primarily in flour business and milling. Besides that, Unga Group also produces animal feeds and human nutrition merchandise. Unga Group has a strong presence in Kenya with approximately 90% of its revenue emerging from Kenya while the remaining from nations such as Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania.
Unga Group is believed to be among the oldest Agribusiness in Kenya country having founded way back in 1908 with the primary objective of attending to the milling needs of the wheat growing industry in the Rift Valley county.
The primary raw materials for Unga Limited include maize and wheat that is used to flour. These raw materials are available widely in Kenya as the majority of the local farmers are maize growers as maize is the staple food for Kenyans. The Unga Group is an umbrella firm with several subsidiaries companies like Unga Limited, Unga Millers (U) Limited, Unga Farm Care Limited (EA) and Ennvalley.
5. Brookside Dairy Limited
The Dairy industry in Kenya is among the leading players in Africa because it produces over 5billion liters of milk annually. Among the list of dairy companies in Kenya, Brookside Dairy Limited is the most popular as it controls a broader part of the dairy market and as at January 2016 this market share as estimated at a whopping 45%. The company manufactures and markets milk and its dairy products like cream, yogurt, pasteurized milk, powdered milk ghee, and butter as well as long life milk. All these products prepared from milk which is the primary raw material for the company. Local cooperatives facilitate the collection of milk from small-scale dairy farmers.
6. Kakuzi Limited
Kakuzi Limited is another company that tops the list of agricultural companies in Kenya making a killing. Kakuzi parent firm is the British Company Camellia Plc., and Estate Service Limited is its subsidiary. I am sure you have seen Kakuzi on the Nairobi Stock Exchange market as it is one of the companies with profitable shares. It is also listed on London Stock Exchange.
The corporation specializes in the production of tea, pineapples, avocados (it is the largest exporter of the fruit in the country), as well as livestock farming. Moreover, Kakuzi Limited also engages in forestry operations where it participates in the management of indigenous forest and natural resources. Kakuzi Limited does all this to ensure that these vital catchment regions are enriched and carefully monitored. Moreover, Kakuzi engages in these operations to make sure that it has a steady and sustainable supply of fuel wood required in tea processing. As such, Kakuzi helps develop forests for the greater good as well as for its beneficial value.
Kakuzi Limited cultivates trees in its 30 hectares annually and also owns a wood-processing plant that treats poles and timber. It is here that wood is milled, eco-friendly charcoal manufactured, and commercial firewood produces and factory-made pallets. Other quality forest products created by Kakuzi Limited include fencing posts, gates, flower supports, door frames, trellising, beehives and wooden planting boxes.
7. East African Breweries Limited (EABL)
East African Breweries Limited is one of the best companies in Kenya as well as the entire East Africa region. The company specializes in the manufacturing of a broad range of alcoholic drinks including spirits, beers as well as adult nonalcoholic beverages (ANADs). The company has breweries, auxiliary industries, distillers, and distribution networks spread put the entire East Africa Region.
For this company, the primary raw materials for beer making include sorghum and barley that is available in large quantities from the Kenyan farmers. As such, EABL ensures that it obtains its raw materials by fostering sustainable partnerships with the local farmers as well as the entire agricultural community.
8. Bidco Africa
Bidco Africa is one of the famous Agricultural companies in Kenya that is doing so well. The company has its head offices in Thika with other subsidiaries and distribution networks spread out in over seventeen nations with East Africa, Southern Africa, and Central Africa. Bidco Africa has forty eight consumer brands that it manufactures markets and retails. The main products made by Bidco include laundry bars, personal care products edible oils, detergents, animal feeds, fats, and margarine.
The principal raw inputs needed by Bidco to manufacture liquid cooking oil include soya beans, maize, and sunflower. Due to the high prevalence of lifestyles diseases such as blood pressure has augmented the demand for liquid cooking oil in the Kenya market owing to its low cholesterol amount. After the oil has crushed, the remains of soya and sunflowers do not waste as they are used to manufacture animal nutritional feeds amongst other merchandise.
Because Bidco strongly believes in agribusiness in Kenya, it tries to encourage more local farmers to grow soya beans and sunflower; this is because most of the small-scale growers shy away from cultivation of soya beans owing to its low germination percentage. For this reason, Bidco Africa brings links these farmers to the Kenya Seed Company and the Kenya Farmers Association among other top seed suppliers to ensure that they harvest optimums.
Bidco understands that it stands to gain a lot but having sufficient raw materials for its operations. Moreover, according to Vimal Shah, the Chief Executive Producer, Bidco has employed over 2000 personnel directly and more than 20,000 indirectly.
9. Mumias Sugar Company
Now, amidst the 2018 sugar scandal in Kenya, it is important to recognize Mumias Sugar Company is another firm that tops the list of agricultural companies in Kenya. Mumias was undoubtedly one of the biggest sugar manufacturers in the country generation over 250,000metric tons. That is roughly about 42% of the projected yearly output of 600,000 metric tons.
The primary raw material for processing of sugar is sugarcane that is cultivated widely in the western part of the country. Mumias Sugar company headquarters situated in Mumias, Kakamega County. We hope that the company will regain its lost glory as the largest sugar manufacturer that uses sugarcane grown in the region.
10. British American Tobacco (BAT)
BAT Kenya is another top agribusiness in Kenya situated in Industrial Area Nairobi along Likoni Road that focuses in the manufacture and distribution of tobacco merchandise in the country. British American Tobacco has employed over four hundred and fifty full-time staff who assist the firm in its operations. The firm engages in the manufacture of cigarettes such as Embassy, Rooster, Dunhill SM, Rothmans, Sportsman, and Safari. BAT Kenya is a monopoly controlling the list of Kenyan companies by sector within the tobacco fragment; this is because it controls 78% of the retails sales of cigarettes as compared to its rival company Mastermind Tobacco (K) that only controls 20%.
The primary raw material for the company is tobacco. BAT Kenya partners with over five thousand local farmers within Migori, Meru and Bungoma counties on a mission to assist them with tobacco leaf growing; this ensures that the farmers access high-quality seeds and fertilizers as well as other farm inputs. In return, the farmers harvest quality crop thereby guaranteeing their financial safety. Moreover, it serves as a loan arrangement for those farmers with no capital to start tobacco growing.
After harvest, the tobacco bought from the local farmers is processed first in the Green Leaf threshing plant located in Thika before taken to the cigarette manufacturing plant based in Industrial Area.
Companies categorized under agriculture on the Nairobi Stock Exchange apart from Kakuzi include
11. Eaagads Limited
12. Kapchorua Tea
14. Limuru Tea
15. Williamson Tea
Other notable agricultural companies include
16. Amiran Kenya
17. Kenya Seed Company
18. Finlays Kenya
19.New Kenya Cooperative Creameries
20. Kinagop Dairies
21. Bio Foods
22. Kevian Kenya
23. United Millers
24. Capwell Industries
25. Rea Vipingo
26. Muharata Food Company
Agribusiness ideas in Kenya
Many agribusiness ideas in Kenya range from commercial farming of animals to vegetable production. Such ventures depend on agricultural-based operations. Even though most people would love to conduct these ventures in large scale; nevertheless, one can start small as small-scale enterprises are also thriving well in the country.
There are a high number of unemployed persons in Kenya because most graduates prefer hunting for jobs without realizing that the best way to go is through job creation. There are numerous agribusiness opportunities in Kenya that the youth can take advantage of accumulate wealth; because as earlier mentioned, the Kenyan economy is agri-based.
Even though most people in agribusiness often do well, it is imperative for one to get knowledge of the product or service they will be producing to ensure they do not fail. Here are some of the agribusiness opportunities that you can start today, and you will be on your path to wealth creation and one day be among the top ten Agricultural companies in Kenya.
- Fodder production
Feeds is a crucial part of livestock keeping as it ensures animals have enough food during droughts and severe weather conditions. As such, fodder production is a viable business opportunity. The types of silage include bone meal, seaweed, green maize, and molasses.
- Fertilizer distribution
The other agribusiness opportunity that is attractive and only requires minimal investments are fertilizer distribution. All you need to do is assist with the delivery of the product from the government to farmers within remote areas at a fee.
- Animal house construction
If you are good at building structures, then you might as well assist local livestock farmers by constructing farms structures as needed and earn from it.
- Soil testing
Soil testing involves monitoring soil content to access the available nutrients; this, in turn, helps the farmer know what sort of fertilizers to add for optimum yields. Setting up a soil testing lab with a government authorization is an excellent, viable agribusiness opportunity in Kenya.
- Manufacture of dairy products
You can start making milk products such as cheese and butter for sale. In this business idea, you will need a business plan with a SWOT analysis to ensure the success of your venture. Initially, you can start small and make use of family labor as a way of reducing the costs.
- Worm farming
Worm farming in Kenya has grown into a profitable venture as farmers need the worms to enrich the soil, as well as supply animal protein for those rearing, find in ponds. Worm farming is an excellent agribusiness venture that is often overlooked and not exploited.
- Spice cultivation
Different household use spices to enrich the taste of various delicacies and as such creating market demand. You can opt to start cultivation of spices like nutmeg, thyme, garlic, and ginger and earn lots of cash selling them to consumers and traders.
Other agriculture business ideas include poultry keeping, hatchery pig farming, and small-scale dairy farming, onion farming, fish farming and rabbit farming.
From the above agribusiness ideas, it is clear that there are so much job opportunities in the agricultural sector and what we need to do is exploit these ideas to generate wealth, create employment which will ultimately increase our standards of living.