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Farmers reap from Coca Cola deal

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 29 – Farmers in certain parts of Central and Rift Valley provinces have earned Sh150 million in one year from the sale of mangoes and passion fruits to the Coca-Cola company.

The firm’s Project Manager Felix Ofulwe said this had been made possible through a partnership to receive and process fruits from farmers, dubbed Project Nurture.

The project seeks to help with product innovation and increase penetration of their juice branded ‘Minute Maid’.

“Part of our goal is to improve the yields of fruit. The percentage of fruits that make it to the market will hopefully increase from around thirty- six percent to around fifty percent, which is a big leap from where we were and where the farmers were before Project Nurture. We have created all these market linkages so they can be increased purchases from the farmers,” Mr Ofulwe stated.

Strategic Marketing Manager for the brand, Carol Mbaga added they are looking at new innovations to help achieve complete market penetration by 2014.

“We have lots of products in the innovation pipeline which we are able to easily replicate and bring to this market. What we want to do is first establish our current portfolio and grow those and drive penetration make sure that everybody knows the Minute Maid brand. Then we shall start to bring in the new products,” Mbaga said.

Coca- Cola’s general Manager for Still Beverages for Central, East and West Africa, Lionel Marumahoko added “to this end, integration is what we call from grove to glass. It explains the shift from the previous model where we imported the raw material from world markets. The change will deliver significant cost efficiencies as well as enhance consumer changing needs.”

Mr Marumahoko said the company would also restructure Beverage Services Kenya (BSK) to make it the centre of excellence for juice production from where the company would export its Minute Maid brand of juices to markets in the East African Community, COMESA and even West Africa.

Project Nurture is a partnership between the Coca- Cola Company, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as Technoserve.

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This four year, Sh1.1 billion partnership will enable 54, 000 mango and passion fruit farmers create an outlet for their fruits to be used in Coca- Cola products.

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