Sweet Potatoes Expo 2014 Event

KERICHO SWEET POTATAOES EXPO AND DINNER

On 17th December, participants  converged at Brilliant Restaurant in West London anxious to learn more about the Sweet Potatoes business.


  
 The event was graced by the Governor of Kericho Kenya, Prof Paul Kiprono Chepkwony, Speaker of Kericho County Parliament Japheth Mutai.

The organisers of the event  also showcased the the opportunities available in his County for in Agriculture and Food Processing as well as other sectors.  The business of importing sweet potatoes to the UK was started by SACOMA inspired by the CEO, Mrs Perez Ochieng  and Director Sam Ochieng of Sacoma, a UK based company.

Speaking at the occasion, Perez Ochieng said the event was about training people on entrepreneurship especially on Sweet Potatoes Business and trade platform. She encouraged those who would like to join in to do so because there were opportunities in ICT, product development, branding and others. The event did not only show case the sweet potatoes and value added product brought together a team of experts in various disciples including buyers and distributors to discuss and work out a strategy for further strengthening the supply chain as well as Discussions on Trade Barriers, Joint Venture (JV) opportunities, Processing Factories and Food Parks,  export-oriented agri-business, horticulture and investment in large scale irrigation schemes, Transport and Logistics, Value Added Products, cold storage.


  
We are pleased that the Governor of Kericho County,  H. E Prof Paul Chepwony, was able join at the event together with a team of Ministers, Agriculture officers, Members of the  County Assembly and  Farmers and Farmer Cooperative Representatives. Their participation and involvement at this event added real value and help in particular to answer some of the trade issues that the investors and buyers had.

It was clear at the gathering that SACOMA’s focus is on sustainable trade, skills and enterprise development and mobilising the and training farmers in Kenya to grow Sweet Potatoe in a sustainable manner. The company also encourages  training on value addition, Sacoma is now bringing sweet potatoes in the UK quite often. Director of Sacoma Ochieng encouraged all those attending to buy sweet potatoes. Peter Coleman, told those gathered there about the efforts made to market Kenyan sweet potatoes in the UK.

Before the Expo the sacoma CEO organised for a tripartite agreement between The Kericho Government, SACOMA and the Cooperative College to develope the capacity of the Kericho farmers cooperatives.

The deal that was signed between the Kericho Goveronr, HE Paul Chepkwong, SACOMA CEO, Perez Ochieng and Co-Operetive college UK CEO Mervyn Wilson . The strategies include: targeting co-operative infrastructure development to ensure that rural communities are linked to markets; develop rural co-operatives to lower transactional costs; and help communities with collective bargaining. With the objectives of improving smallholder productivity, expanding markets and trade, and increasing private sector investment in agriculture. SACOMA will see a range of initiatives introduced in Kericho over the next three years - from training for local farmers to providing start-up and mentoring advice and co-ordination of the co-operatives.

The Expo which attracted both sweet potatoes buyers/Retailers, Coffee buyers nd roastera as well as potential investors saw the lauchh of new value added products form kericho sweet potataoes.

Among those who attended the event were barrister Usha Teji,  a leading family law barrister, with early family links to Kenya. Funding opportunities were discussed during the event with several other potential investors making presentation to the Governors Team and the SACOMA Team. UK solar company with interest in Africa also came to the EXPO seeking local

partners with land access close to power station,  Discuss funding for projects that are backed by either SG or BG, Energy related projects,  Agriculture related projects and also Explore Parliament and Business links so the Parliamentarians.

Further meetings between Coffee buyers and roasters were progressed with strategic agreements for Joint Marketing initiatives and branding  that will To utilise Landrich Trading Co Ltd’s Team and resources to train the indigenous farmers in production techniques and Marketing in to the UK markets for the Kericho cofeee.
SACOMA CEO Mrs Perez Ocjieng asure the Kericho Team that included the MCAs and the Speaker of the County assembly, Mr Mutai. That continued strateries for marketing will include Using famous people and faces in fronting a renewed drive to encourage consumers to make products from Kericho a central part of their diet.

The organisers of the event, SACOMA, have said there will be continued  promotion measures after the EXPO consisting of public relations, promotional or publicity campaigns, in particular highlighting the advantages of Kenya  products, especially in terms of quality, food safety and hygiene, nutrition, labelling, animal welfare or environmentally-friendly production methods. These measures will also cover participation at events and fairs, information campaigns on the impact of teh trade to the small holder farmers livelihoods, protected geographical indications (PGI) and traditional specialities guaranteed (TSG), information on quality and labelling systems and organic farming, and information campaigns on the specific  produce from specified regions such the sweet potatoes.

A bigger Expo is planned for early 2015
SACOMA is also scheduled to partner with both local and International Agencies together with Kericho small holder farmers to bring the most modern post harverts handling and storage facilities and packing houses that utilising research and technology from some of the top UK Universities through agreement with SACOMA and Kericho on Knowldhe Trnasfer Partnership with Univresities with unique multi-disciplinary centre of excellence, who  have an established reputation for delivering high quality research, advice, teaching and training in support of global food security, sustainable development and poverty reduction.
SACOMA CEO Mrs Ochieng explained that this This partnersip is about collaboration in science, but more importantly about people. The partnership  will successfully work together to develop innovative ideas and solutions that can improve livelihoods, reduce waste and also improve the environment aroung the sweet poattaoes production.

A major dela struck between sacoma , kericho and The Birmingham Civic Association, will see the Kericho sweet potatoes served to over 25, 000 people in Birmingna Uk as part of healthy mela options. This will definitely boost the increased sales and trade with Kenya sweet potaoes farmers and SACOMA.



 The Eexpo was also addressed by a represettaive from the Kenya High Commision, who applauded SACOMA effort in promoting Kenyas produce to successfully enter the UK Matrket. Speaking on behalf of the Embassy , Mrs Lesuuda, The Education attaché said they were very impressed by the way SACOMa continued to link up with @Universities to imptove the technology and use the existing research to improve the quality of the products both in the fresh produce sector as well as in the value added and processed foods for export.

Leadership and Entreprreuship Courses are also schecduled by SACOMA to be delivered to the Feedback for the participants at the event confirmed that this s trade event and dinner will act as a catalyst to influence industry, consumers and policy makers and open up new business opportunities and promote investment in Agriculture in Kericho County,Kenya.

A bigger Expo is planned for Early next year is definitely something to look out for to promote more Kenyan Produce into the UK/EU Markets. SACOMA is a business develpment agency also working as business developer, -able to initiate projects as well as providing all necessary advisory services to our partners. We work with institutions and corporations seeking  market entry, as well as host African clients on corporate governance, capacity building and long-term strategic development solutions.



Later the Governor and the Keriucho teak went t0 vsist Nicksham centre in Birmingham where the team met with BabaG



 meeting at the Niksham Centre
The governor later visited the Kenya High Commission for a courtesy call.




 

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