When Isaac Mwangi started supplying mangoes in the 1990s, he never knew that he would be the co-founder of one of Kenya’s biggest export companies.
Mwangi is the director of Keitt Exporters dealing with the export of agri-produce such as avocados, mangoes and french beans.
But what does it take to build such a big company? Here is his story as told by WoK.
Mwangi’s interest in agribusiness dates back to the 1990s when he was supplying mangoes from Malindi.
He got mangoes from Malindi and supplied to sellers for a while before moving to Makueni where he’d source mangoes from farmers and supply to big retailers.
Mwangi did this until 2001 when he partnered with a friend to start their own company dubbed, Keitt Exporters.
“I started supplying mangos in 1990 from Malindi and then later from Makueni where I was also a supplier. I would pick mangoes from Makueni and supply to big supermarkets in Nairobi
“After that I partnered with my friend and started this company in 2001. When we started, we has a lot of problems because the company was very small,” he said.
Mwangi and his business partner experience challenges while setting up their company but they later secured funding that facilitated growth of their company.
“Later on, with the blessings of God, we got some money from somewhere then we started coming up slowly until 2012 when we picked up up to where we are now,” he retaliated.
He attributed their company’s success to hard-work and support from government bodies which guided them on the proper way to conduct business.
“Though we had obstacles here and there, we have government bodies which helped us reach where we are today with the proper certifications, licenses and how to do things right,” Mwangi explained.
Mwangi also noted that at the moment, the company has a team of technical managers who work closely with farmers.
“We have a team of agronomists in our company who go to the ground and help the farmers to do things right. Otherwise, it is very hard for a farmer to do things which are not right,” he said.