The US government and Kenstate, a Kenyan coconut processor have announced a Ksh232 million ($1.6 million) combined investment project to expand the firm’s exports to the United States.
The Feed the Future and Prosper Africa funding supported by the United States Agency for International Development is set to increase Kentaste’s processing capacity by 67 percent to 50,000 coconuts per day.
“Through partnerships like this, we are enhancing trade, transforming lives, and combating food waste and its impacts on climate change. Sustainable growth and international collaboration are key to the prosperity of both our countries,” said Meg Whitman, US ambassador to Kenya.
The project is also expected to create economic opportunities for more than 4,500 Kenyan farmers by generating 90 full-time jobs and enrolling 1,500 new growers as suppliers, even as it aims to eliminate 32,500 litres of food loss and wastage over the next two years.
The aid is expected to increase the supply of coconuts, at a time when Kenya is experiencing a stable demand from local processors and the export market.
The collaboration also secures ties with two major US retailers, who will carry Kentaste’s coconut water products, further expanding access to the US market for Kenyan coconut products.
The US is the major buyer of Kenyan nuts, followed by Germany and the Netherlands.
A 2022 report by the Nuts and Oil Crops Directorate shows that 110,013 tons of coconuts valued at Ksh5 million ($34,423) were produced in 2020, a slight decrease from 86,554 tonnes valued at Ksh5.5 million ($37,865) in 2021.
Founded in 2008, Kentaste produces and distributes a wide range of coconut-based products including coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut flour, virgin coconut oil, and desiccated coconut.
The firm works with a network of 2,700 smallholder farmers, mostly organic and fair trade certified.
According to Research and Markets, the global coconut products market size is expected to reach $38.58 billion by 2030, majorly driven by increased demand for coconut products such as coconut milk, coconut water, and desiccated coconut in the food and beverage industry.