KENYA – Kakuzi PLC has unveiled a detailed plan to enhance its returns on investment and solidify its position as a leading international agribusiness.

At the company’s 96th Annual General Meeting, Chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a highlighted the firm’s vision to become Africa’s top producer and exporter of superfoods.

This vision will be pursued through a strong focus on sustainable crop and animal production to boost shareholder returns.

Ng’ang’a emphasized the company’s commitment to diversifying its revenue streams beyond agriculture. He noted the successful pilot project for blueberries as part of the strategy to reduce dependence on macadamia and avocados.

This diversification also includes expanding markets, with plans to increase exports to India and China, in addition to existing European markets.

“Kakuzi PLC has, over the years, built a solid foundation in corporate governance and business growth. We are not just a farm; we are an integrated, sophisticated agribusiness enterprise with the capacity to be a leading player in international markets,” Ng’ang’a said.

He stressed the importance of making sound decisions to sustain growth, diversify crops, and develop both domestic and international markets.

Additionally, he highlighted the necessity of being responsive to climate action needs, ensuring long-term value rather than short-term gains. Ng’ang’a also pointed out the company’s impressive track record in dividend payments over the last five years.

Managing Director Chris Flowers detailed plans to nearly double avocado production and exports over the next decade, from 3 million to 5 million four-kilo cartons.

“This will be achieved through a combination of young orchards coming online and completing plantings next year. We will also mitigate market and shipping risks by using different varieties that mature at different times of the year,” Flowers explained.

He also announced plans to increase macadamia production from 900 tons of kernel to 1,500 tons within the same period.

To support sustainable production, Kakuzi plans to enhance water harvesting and irrigation and introduce new macadamia varieties from Hawaii and possibly the latest Australian varieties.

Flowers also highlighted Kakuzi’s commitment to environmental stewardship by working with government and commercial partners to expand integrated pest management and reduce chemical use.

He mentioned the company’s investment in artificial intelligence (AI) for crop management as part of its Agricultural Technology (AgTech) ventures. “AI will undoubtedly play a role in our operations, and we plan to invest in AI-linked AgTech solutions to increase our operating efficiencies,” Flowers said.

Despite a pre-tax profit of Ksh 664 million (USD 5.06 million) last year, Kakuzi faced a Ksh 354 million (USD 2.57 million) pre-tax loss from its macadamia operations. However, the avocado division performed well, with a pre-tax profit of Ksh 1.4 billion (USD 10.7 million), up from Ksh 0.8 billion the previous year.

In addition to its growth plans, Kakuzi recently won the top honor in Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Practice in the Agricultural Sector at the National Annual Occupational Safety and Health Awards 2024.

The awards, organized by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, recognized Kakuzi for excellence in workplace safety.

The company’s success in this area is attributed to its employees’ commitment to safety, collaborative workplace inspections, and active safety and health committees.

“With over 3,500 employees, our commitment to employee safety remains unwavering. This award reaffirms our dedication to prioritizing safety,” Flowers stated.

He urged everyone to stay vigilant and safe, particularly in the face of extreme weather conditions in Kenya and committed to continually improving working practices to protect employees and enhance productivity.

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