To our esteemed guest of honour Amb. Maarten Brouwer, our investor HRSV, The RF Foundation, CEO’s and directors, Amb. Dennis Awori, KALRO, KenInvest, KEBS, Stanchart, our partners Sheffield, KasKazi, Farm to Feed, our suppliers, our board & staff (please wave where you are), family, ladies and gentlemen,
A warm welcome to you all!
I see a force for good.
Confucius said it is better to light a candle rather than curse the darkness. I have related to these words all my life and my strongest passion yet is on food loss and food waste. I am an economist and I know you cannot have a fair agricultural economic agenda without considering the plight of farmers, the need for sustainable production and the ability to provide affordable nutrition to all who are our working people and the heartbeat of any country.
Our first principle as leaders is to see everybody deserving dignity, education, a good meal and a good standard of life.
At NatureLock we are fighting food waste throughout Africa by preserving fresh produce naturally into tasty, nutritious and affordable foods for all, right at the source. We preserve by drying 100% field-fresh produce to create healthy, affordable ready to eat food that fits in people’s everyday lives. Our products have an ambient shelf life of up to two years and are rich in essential nutrients and natural taste.
Our value chain starts with our farmers. Listening to their plea for better markets and good prices, we at NatureLock have the ability to provide for this through purchasing all that they are unable to sell. Thanks to Farm to Feed Kenya, we are able to source these vegetables from surrounding counties. And we have plans to expand our efforts to fight post harvest losses even more. It is my commitment that by 2023 we will save 22,000 tonnes of fresh produce and deliver 60 Million meals or 2.7 million kilos of meals. It is my resolve that 75% of our vegetables will come from rescued food from our farmers.
I am very excited about our partnership with KALRO for growing Ndengu in semi-arid lands, where very little can grow. These areas of Kenya need to adapt to increasingly worse effects of climate change. We are stimulating growth of the hardy Ndengu crop in these regions. We hope to become the pull farmers need to have the incentive to grow this crop en mass and improve their livelihoods.
Naturelock is perfect to convert these foods to ready to eat foods in a sustainable way that creates jobs especially for women. First we nurture our own people. What brought Wilco Vermeer and me together was our strong belief in fairness, openness and integrity at work and in our work. We want 90% of our staff to be made up of women, and preferably women who haven’t yet had a chance build skills and demonstrate their excellence. The company culture we are building is proof of how life can be good to them.
I see incredible opportunities in the market place, in ways that haven’t been done before. To women chamas we offer cheaper, better food products, Stewsday food carts that will encourage women & youth enterprise and recycling schemes for plastic… the list has just began.
Then lastly, one more project that is especially close to my heart. I see my children packing their lunch everyday before they go to school. But not every child is fortunate enough to pack their lunch at home or get a school meal. I can’t imagine how you are supposed to learn and grow while being hungry. This needs to change and we are now in the process of building a coalition with partners in business, politics and the non profit sector to supply school meals.
The world is our playing field and we are braced for impact. We are a Force for Good. We will change lives both individually and collectively. It is our purpose and our vision – so help us God!
I end by saying a big thank you to you who are here today to share with us this momentous occasion