Kenya's farmers to sell produce at Carrefour outlets in other countries

Christophe Orcet speaks during the opening of Carrefour store at GTC Mall in Westlands, Nairobi. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

French retailer Carrefour has said it is implementing a programme that will help local farmers export their produce to countries where it has operations that will then be sold at its stores in those markets. 

The company said it is already working with a number of farmers who are exporting different produce including pineapples, avocados, plantains and tea. Last year, Carrefour said, the farmers exported 645 tonnes of different products with an eye on growing the exports this year. 

“Currently, we have at least five local farmers who are exporting or in the process of exporting their produce to markets where Carrefour operates,” said Christophe Orcet Regional Director East Africa, Majid Al Futtaim Retail, which owns the exclusive rights to operate Carrefour in Kenya.

“Although at a nascent stage, we have been exporting a full range of berries and herbs to Qatar, and fruits including pineapples, berries, plantains, and avocados to Bahrain. We also export avocados to the UAE and ship tea to Egypt. Our total exports for 2023 were 645 tonnes (500 tonnes to the UAE only).”

Mr Orcet, who spoke yesterday when the retailer opened its 23rd store at the GTC Tower in Nairobi’s Westlands, said the firm had the objective of developing the local supply chain operations by partnering and supporting homegrown suppliers, producers and other small businesses.

Carrefour had partnered with local manufacturers to develop its branded items and had so far developed 45 products that are currently on its shelves. 

“We source 99 per cent of our products locally and provide our suppliers with access to both local and international markets,” Orcet said. 

“We now operate 23 stores, providing direct employment to more than 2200 individuals and thousands indirect job opportunities with the majority being residents of Nairobi County.”

While offering opportunities, Carrefour has locked horns with the local competition watchdog that has penalised it for unfair contracts with suppliers.

The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) late last year slapped the retailer with a Sh1.1 billion fine for shifting its costs to suppliers. 

CAK noted that the retailer had been demanding substantial discounts from suppliers as well as requiring them to pay listing fees for new branches and station employees at its outlets. 

Carrefour opened its first retail outlet in Kenya in 2016. It is in stiff competition with other retailers such as Naivas and Quickmart. This especially in Nairobi, where 18  of its 23 branches are located. 

The retailer last year opened four outlets including at the Promenade Mall in Nyali and the Square Mall at Eastleigh. 

“Our GTC Mall supermarket is the inaugural store for the new look and feel Carrefour concept. It promises to give one of the best shopping experiences to customers from its product range and services,” said Orcet at the function on Wednesday.

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