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Farmers to benefit from BIDCO deal

By Lee Mwiti | Published Fri, March 11th 2016 at 00:00, Updated March 10th 2016 at 23:39 GMT +3

Bidco has entered into an agreement that will see 9,000 small scale farmers supply the company with soya beans and sunflower seeds.

The agreement has been signed together with Shaleem investment Limited, a social enterprise that links small holder farmers with reliable and predictable market opportunities. The company has assured the farmers of a ready market for sunflower and soya beans.

Bidco currently works with 12,500 farmers across East Africa, who supply soya beans and sunflower seeds, but the company is well below its processing capacity.

The oil manufacturer has been having problems meeting its target of processing 30,000 metric tonnes of edible oils annually, and only meets 50 per cent of this.

Shalem works with about 20,000 farmers in total around Meru.
Under the terms of the agreement, Bidco had guaranteed to buy the farmers produce at competitive prices and pay them on delivery.

"This is about inclusive growth. We believe that the opportunity to participate in the value chain is a game changer for small holder farmers. It reduces poverty and improves their quality of life and at the same time helps us to meet our production targets. This is a win-win partnership," Bidco CEO Vimal Shah said.

Mr Shah further claimed that there are thousands of small scale farmers who are engaged in subsistence farming who don't have an income despite their hard work.

"What a small scale farmer needs most is a market and Bidco has guaranteed that," Shalem Managing Director Ruth Kinoti said during the contract signing ceremony held at Bidco Africa headquarters in Thika.

Ms Kinoti added that the deal means a lot to farmers in terms of school fees, healthcare and generally a better life.

Shalem will now be tasked with providing Bidco with 2000 metric tonnes of sunflower and soya beans in the coming season.

Shah urged Shalem to deliver on their commitment and raise their capacity.
He also invited other farmers to supply Bidco with seeds.
"We are currently operating below capacity so we invite any farmers out there who are interested to get in touch and make it happen," he said.


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