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Commercialising chilli production

  • By KCV
  • October 29, 2020

Mace foods, a large scale producer of dehydrated spices, herbs, vegetables and chillies based in Eldoret-Kenya is in the value-added market place where they engage small, medium and large scale farmers in the farming, production and processing of chillies for export

Founded 17 years ago, Margaret Komen, CEO Mace foods tells us that her passion has always been agribusiness and its value chain.

“In October 2001 when I first got to attend the ANUGA food fair, I was informed by the Kenyan booth through the Kenyan Trade Consular in Berlin, Germany that chillies had a good market place in Europe. I came back home, after my studies, embarked on researching and finally developed samples which I sent to some of the clients I had interacted with at the trade fair and to my surprise, I got my first export order in 2003.” She said.

The company which specializes in two MAIN segments of the agribusiness industry, spices and ethnic foods offer world-class processing of five varieties of hot chillies for both pharmaceutical and food industries and Ethnic/Indigenous segment where they produce, process and market African leafy vegetables and assorted indigenous foods, has ready market access not only in the country but also abroad.

“So far, everything has been going on well, and we have managed to extend our market to Europe; Specifically, Germany, Italy, UK and Spain where we are the market leaders.” She added.

Most of the chillies they export to these areas are African Bird’s eye chillies which are a hot commodity on the global market, premium-grade and top product for high-quality conscious customers.

“There is a huge market demand for African bird’s eye chillies, and this represents an incredible opportunity for small scale chilli farmers that we work with.” Said Mary.

Small scale chilli farmers always find it hard to meet their full market potential, especially in the global space. Market inefficiencies and supply constraints impede the farmers from accessing lucrative markets yearly.

Mace foods have made this easier for these farmers through the delivery of technical expertise and support. They have developed processing and marketing systems needed to meet high-value market standards, and now farmers can demand a high price for their produce.

However, Mary informs us that a company cannot be successful without partnering with other companies. Some challenges need an immediate response, and that only means joining hands with others.

The company has received tremendous support from Kenya Climate Ventures, a branch of Kenya Climate Centre that deals with impact investing. “Initially, we had financial constraints when it comes to acquiring machinery, but through KCV, we have received funds and now we can purchase the machinery, construct a new factory, rebrand all our products and hire consultants to help us in various needs. “She said.

She is hoping that KCV will continue supporting them now that they are on a great move to growth and prosperity and look forward to expanding their market to France after Center for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries(CBI) noting that Kenya is one of the medium to large suppliers of chilli to the European Union majorly Germany, Italy, UK and France.