More than most things, avocados symbolise middle-class millennials in the global north. Their journey from seedling to fruit, and a trip thousands of kilometres away represents opportunities further afield, in the developing world.
Great Global Traders, a Kenya-based start-up is an emerging member of this multi-billion dollar industry, established to empower marginalised members of the community. Focused on uplifting women and youth, Rosemary Muita’s business employs 800 professionally trained smallholder farmers across four counties, with expansion in her sights.
Entirely locally owned and operated, armed with an export licence for high-quality domestic produce, and with agri-processing opportunities, Rosemary’s business and vision show us what an AfCFTA-enabled future could look like.
Even when she first started with a handful of female farmers in a co-operative, she dreamed big, “If you think small, you stay small,” she explained. By training them in agricultural best practices and advocating organic growing methods, her network expanded.
This helped her envisage a future plans, prioritising export of avocados, developing a nuclear farm and having her own processing plant. By appointing a commercial coach, Invest in Africa helped her distil this into a decade-long plan, introduce digital marketing tools and formalise her business, developing a structure and hierarchy, allowing her to expand methodically.
Breaking cultural barriers preventing women from attaining financial independence remains central to her plans.
Rosemary has experienced this first-hand herself. Not having assets to collateralise loans, banks turn her away. “In Kenya women are not granted land rights, and the like, making it almost impossible to get funding. I have enquired with local banks but also some abroad and always the same story,” she lamented.
Such impediments lower the threshold of professional accomplishment and deter ambition
for many women. Invest In Africa’s commitment to building inclusive economies is to break precisely these kinds of barriers. Rosemary is determined not to fall victim to this despite opportunities for growth being affected as a result.
Just as Great Global Traders were preparing to export into America, Europe and the Middle East, the pandemic struck, interrupting an important growth phase and crucial revenue streams. Unable to pay the farmers, and searching for revenue, Rosemary is powering on.
Learn more about Great Global Traders here: https://www.greatglobal.co.ke/