Juice maker eyes bigger market slice with Sh1b war chest

Kevian Kenya Limited, the manufacturer of ‘Pick N Peel’ and Afia juices, has announced a Sh1 billion expansion plan.

The new move will see the company improve on its infrastructure and equipment as it moves to widen its market share.

Chief Executive Kimani Rugendo said the wide-ranging plan is aimed at raising its production capacity to meet a surge in demand for food and beverage products both locally and internationally.

It comes hot on the heels of a Sh3 billion loan from international lender Germany Investment and Development Corporation (DEG) for the installation of state-of-the-art equipment at its Thika and Nairobi plants.

Speaking when the firm played host to a German delegation led by Minister for Economic Co-operation and Development Dr Gerd Muller who was in the country to attend the recently concluded German-African Business Summit, Mr Rugendo said the firm’s products have captured a significant share of the East African market.

He said plans are afoot to expand the processor’s scope to the Central African and the Middle East markets soon.

“All our products are consumed all over the region and at the moment, we are looking to penetrate the Middle East market as we pursue avenues to get into the US and European markets,” said Mr Rugendo.

The firm currently distributes its products in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda in the region.

Mr Rugendo founded Kevian Kenya in 1992 after quitting politics, with the Mt Kenya water brand being his first product. The company has since gone from strength to strength and in 2014 started production of non-alcoholic malt drinks to take on soft drinks giant Coca-Cola and regional brewer East African Breweries, which have similar products

To ensure a constant supply of fresh produce, Kevian has partnered with GTZ, Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA) and the Agriculture Ministry to offer extension services to farmers.

The company has also established a small farmers’ vocational training centre in Kitengela, Kajiado County where they will receive practical training on passion fruit cultivation.

German minister, Muller said his delegation was impressed with Kevian’s progress, adding that the support given to the firm by German entities provided good impetus for Kenyan-German co-operation.

“The work being done in this company provides a great future for small-scale farmers who would have otherwise suffered the effects of not having a regular market for their produce,” said Dr Muller.

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