Rose Mutuku: Founder Of Food Processing Company Making Precooked Beans, Beans Flour

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Rose Mutuku in her workshop PHOTO/Courtesy

Rose Mutuku is the Managing Director of Smart Logistics, a local company making precooked beans among other bean-based products.

Initially, the company was working with small farmers to grow crops for other companies.

However, in 2015, the company ventured into the food processing industry and started working with smallholder farmers to source their raw materials.

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Here is their story as told by WoK.

Smart Logistics

After its establishment, Smart Logistics worked with local farmers to sell their produce to other companies.

They worked with farmers to grow crops like sorghum for companies such as Bidco and Kenya Breweries.

“Smart Logistics started with supporting smallholder farmers to grow sorghum and crops for other companies like Bidco and the breweries,” Mutuku explained.

Years into the business, the company realized that they relied on third parties and decided to work with the farmers directly.

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This way, Mutuku explained, that they had full control and were able to promise what they can deliver.

“We worked with the farmers throughout the journey and we reached a place that we realized that we were depending on a contract from a third party so that we can be able to take the contract back to the farmer,” she said.

Precooked beans

While venturing into the food processing industry, precooked beans was among the company’s top product.

However, introducing the product into the market was a challenge since most people were not familiar with it.

Mutuku explained that they had to invest in campaigns and work with government agencies who understand the product.

“When we started doing precooked beans, people didn’t believe in is because they thought the beans were full of chemicals because we’ve been eating beans that cook for longer times

“People did not believe that and they had a lot of doubt and with that then we had to do a lot of campaigns and working with government agents who understand the product to be able to sell it,” she said.

At the moment, the precooked beans retail at major retailers including Quickmart and Tumaini supermarkets.

“Initially we were retailing our products with women who recook the beans to hawk them or sell in hotels. Today we retail the beans at Quickmart and Tumaini and we are pushing to get into other retailers,” Mutuku said.

Challenges

Mutuku also highlighted challenges that they have faced in their business.

She highlighted among others heavy taxation of Kenyan entrepreneurs while foreign investors are given tax-free holiday.

“When we were setting up the company, I don’t understand how the government will give foreigners who want to set up a company in Kenya a tax free holiday time but they don’t extend that to local entrepreneurs,” Mutuku said.

She also mentioned lack of support from the government to be able to put products together and sell.

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