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Jane Maigua: Meet the Minds Behind Kenyan Company Exporting High Quality Macadamia Nuts to Europe, USA

Jane Maigua is the co-founder and CEO of Exotic EPZ, a macadamia nuts processing company exporting high quality nuts to Netherlands, and parts of USA, Spain, Germany, Italy and China.

The company which was established in 2017 is solely women-owned and employs over 180 workers aside from partnering with over 9000 smallholder farmers.

Jane was inspired to pursue entrepreneurship by her mother who was a farmer and her father who worked as a bus driver.

Here is her story as told by WoK.

Jane alongside her two siblings were born and raised in a humble background.

In an interview with Lionesses of Africa, the entrepreneur noted that her mother was a farmer while her father worked as a bus driver.

Jane explained that her parents struggled to make ends meet and see her through school, an experience that inspired her to venture into entrepreneurship.

“I ended up in the entrepreneurship development sector working with national and international NGOs, as well as the UN on projects that supported Small and Medium Enterprises to start and grow their businesses. From this I gained a lot of knowledge and motivation to still pursue my dream of starting a business,” she said.

After working with the UN for 25 years, Jane resigned from her position to venture into agro-processing and exportation of nuts.

Jane and her business partners, Charity Ndegwa and Loise Maina, established Exotic EPZ in 2017.

The company sources macadamia nuts in shells from smallholder farmers across the country, processes then and export raw macadamia kernels into international markets.

Exotic EPZ
Exotic EPZ processing factory PHOTO/Original

Jane explained that she and her business partners set up the company to eradicate farmers’ exploitation by middlemen.

“My parents were peasant farmers facing such struggles as well. I was also inspired to run an export business that would also create opportunities for many people, and to inspire other women to run corporate businesses,’ she said.

Exotic EPZ has a team that comprises of 187 workers, both full-time and temporary workers.

On the other hand, the management team comprises a team of eight, five being women.

“They all are highly qualified and experienced in their respective roles and are always highly motivated to deliver our customer promise

“We do have a lot of fun working together and organize several social activities such as team building events, celebration of everyone’s birthdays, graduations, baby showers etc. as the case may be,” Jane said.

Looking ahead, Jane said they are hoping to expand operations to include macadamia oils and other specialty oils such as sesame, moringa and baobab.

“We also plan to get into roasted nuts which we can supply to domestic markets, as well as to the wider African market. We also hope to build our own factory that will scale up our production to 5,000MT annually,” she said.