Del Monte Kenya Limited is a Kenyan food processing company that specializes in the cultivation, production, and canning of pineapple products. The company has been operating in Kenya for several decades and has become the leading exporter of pineapples in the country.
Del Monte Kenya has heavily invested in the Thika region of Kenya, where its farms and canning operations are located. The company produces a variety of pineapple products, including canned solid pineapple, juice concentrates, mill juice sugar, and cattle feed. In addition to pineapples, Del Monte Kenya also grows and exports bananas from its own farms in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and the Philippines, as well as from independent growers in several other countries.
Kenya is one of the top five pineapple exporters in the world, and Del Monte Kenya’s operations have played a significant role in the country’s success in this industry. The company’s commitment to sustainable farming practices has also earned it third-party certification for its pineapple farms and canning operations in Kenya as Sustainably Grown. Del Monte Kenya’s success in the pineapple industry has not only benefited the company but also the local economy and the country as a whole.
History of Del Monte in Kenya
Del Monte Kenya Limited is a leading food processing company in Kenya that specializes in the cultivation, production, and canning of pineapple products. The company was established in 1965 after the Kenyan government reached out to Del Monte, a US-based company that was growing pineapples in Hawaii. The Kenyan government was looking for a company that would manage the pineapple industry in the country, and Del Monte was keen to expand its operations to Africa where there was cheap labor.
Del Monte Kenya started its operations in Thika, Kiambu County, where it established a 9,000-acre farm. The company’s first pineapple crop was harvested in 1966, and it has since grown to become one of the largest pineapple producers in the world. Del Monte Kenya produces canned solid pineapple, juice concentrates, mill juice sugar, and cattle feed.
Over the years, Del Monte Kenya has invested heavily in research and development to improve its pineapple farming techniques. The company has also worked closely with local farmers to promote sustainable agriculture practices that ensure the long-term viability of the pineapple industry in Kenya.
Today, Del Monte Kenya is a major employer in the country, with over 6,500 workers directly employed by the company. The company also supports over 28,000 smallholder farmers who supply pineapples to Del Monte Kenya for processing.
Del Monte Kenya’s commitment to sustainable agriculture and community development has earned it several awards and recognitions over the years. In 2020, the company was named the Best Exporter in East Africa at the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) sponsored East Africa Maritime Awards (EAMA).
Also Read: Pineapple Farming In Kenya
Del Monte’s Pineapple Export Business in Kenya
Del Monte Kenya Limited is the largest producer of pineapple products and fruit beverages in Kenya. The company operates in the cultivation, production, and canning of pineapple products. Del Monte Kenya produces canned solid pineapple, juice concentrates, mill juice sugar, and cattle feed. The company has a massive pineapple plantation at its headquarters in Thika, which they use as raw material for the production processes.
Del Monte Kenya’s pineapple export business is a significant contributor to Kenya’s economy. The company exports its pineapple products to various countries around the world, including the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. In 2020, Del Monte Kenya was recognized as the Best Exporter in East Africa in the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) sponsored East Africa Maritime Awards (EAMA) hosted in Mombasa.
Del Monte Kenya’s pineapple export business is a classic example of collaboration by public and private institutions to promote agricultural exports and invigorate a rural area. The company works with local farmers to cultivate pineapples, providing them with training and technical assistance to ensure they produce high-quality pineapples that meet the company’s standards. This collaboration has helped create job opportunities for many people in rural areas, contributing to Kenya’s socio-economic development.
Del Monte’s Impact on the Kenyan Economy
Del Monte Kenya Limited is Kenya’s largest producer of pineapple products and fruit beverages, and it has a significant impact on the Kenyan economy. The company employs over 6,500 people directly and indirectly, making it one of the largest employers in the country. It also supports over 28,000 small-scale farmers who supply it with pineapples, avocados, and passion fruits.
Del Monte’s operations in Kenya span over 8,000 hectares of land, and it has a processing plant in Thika, Kiambu County. The company exports its products to over 30 countries worldwide, earning foreign exchange for the Kenyan economy. In 2020, Del Monte was recognized as the Best Exporter in East Africa in the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) sponsored East Africa Maritime Awards (EAMA) hosted in Mombasa.
The company’s impact on the Kenyan economy goes beyond job creation and foreign exchange earnings. Del Monte has invested in various corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in the areas of education, health, and environment. For example, the company has built schools, provided scholarships to needy students, and supported health facilities in the communities where it operates.
Del Monte’s commitment to sustainability is also noteworthy. The company has implemented various measures to minimize its environmental impact, such as reducing water usage, recycling waste, and using renewable energy sources. In 2021, Del Monte’s pineapple farms and canning operations in Kenya were certified as Sustainably Grown by SCS Global Services.
In conclusion, Del Monte Kenya Limited has a significant impact on the Kenyan economy, providing employment opportunities, earning foreign exchange, supporting small-scale farmers, and investing in CSR initiatives. The company’s commitment to sustainability is also commendable, and it sets an example for other companies to follow.
Challenges Faced by Del Monte in Kenya
Del Monte, a leading pineapple exporter in Kenya, has faced several challenges in its operations in the country. Some of the challenges include:
- Land Issues: Del Monte has been embroiled in a long-standing land dispute with the local community over the renewal of its lease for a 20,000-acre pineapple farm north of Nairobi. The company has been accused of land grabbing and displacing local communities from their ancestral land.
- Labor Issues: Del Monte has faced several labor issues in Kenya. The company has been accused of exploiting its workers, paying low wages, and subjecting them to poor working conditions. In 2021, workers at Del Monte’s pineapple farm went on strike demanding better wages and working conditions.
- Environmental Concerns: Del Monte has been accused of environmental degradation in Kenya. The company has been accused of using harmful pesticides and chemicals in its pineapple farming operations, which have polluted the environment and affected the health of local communities.
- Competition: Del Monte faces stiff competition from other pineapple exporters in Kenya. The company has to constantly innovate and improve its operations to remain competitive in the market.
Despite these challenges, Del Monte has continued to be a major player in the Kenyan pineapple export market. The company has implemented several initiatives to address some of the challenges it faces, including:
- Sustainability: Del Monte has implemented sustainable farming practices to reduce its environmental impact. The company has achieved sustainable certification for its pineapple farms and canning operations in Kenya.
- Corporate Social Responsibility: Del Monte has invested in several community development projects in Kenya, including education, health, and infrastructure development.
- Employee Welfare: Del Monte has implemented several initiatives to improve the welfare of its employees, including providing training and development opportunities, improving working conditions, and increasing wages.
Overall, Del Monte faces several challenges in its operations in Kenya, but the company has implemented several initiatives to address these challenges and remain competitive in the market.
Future Plans of Del Monte in Kenya
Del Monte Kenya Limited has been a leading producer and exporter of pineapple products and fruit beverages in Kenya for many years. The company has a long history of investing in sustainable agriculture practices and community development initiatives, which has helped it to maintain its position as a leader in the industry.
Looking to the future, Del Monte Kenya has several plans in place to continue to grow and improve its operations in the country. One key focus area is on expanding its production capacity to meet the growing demand for its products in both local and international markets.
To achieve this, the company has invested heavily in new technologies and equipment, including a Ksh 580 million fresh fruit packing facility that was opened in 2019. This state-of-the-art facility has enabled Del Monte to improve the quality and consistency of its products, while also increasing its efficiency and reducing its environmental impact.
In addition to expanding its production capacity, Del Monte Kenya is also committed to continuing its efforts to promote sustainable agriculture and community development in the areas where it operates. This includes investing in programs to improve soil health, conserve water resources, and reduce waste and emissions.
Overall, Del Monte Kenya’s future plans are centered around maintaining its position as a leader in the industry, while also continuing to innovate and improve its operations in a sustainable and responsible way. With its strong track record and commitment to excellence, the company is well-positioned to continue to grow and thrive in the years to come.
Del Monte Kenya has been a major player in the Kenyan pineapple industry since the 1960s. Its expertise in financing, marketing, and management has helped to make Kenya one of the top five pineapple exporters in the world.
The company’s involvement in the horticulture sector has also brought substantial benefits to urban employees. The success of the company has led to the development of fresh pineapple exports to nearby markets in the Middle East and beyond, which has helped to boost Kenya’s economy.
Despite controversies surrounding land ownership, Del Monte Kenya’s pineapple plantations continue to provide a significant source of foreign exchange for the country, earning up to Sh9 billion annually.
Overall, Del Monte Kenya’s contribution to the Kenyan economy cannot be overstated. The company’s commitment to sustainable agriculture, environmental conservation, and community development has made it a model for other agribusinesses in the region.
Sources: Gichuru, Moffat, Mike Iravo, and Wycliffe Arani. “Collaborative Supply Chain Practices on Performance of Food and Beverages Companies: A Case Study of Del Monte Kenya Ltd.” International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences 5.11 (2015): 17-31. Link: https://knowledgewords.com/images/Collaborative_Supply_Chain_Practices_on_Performance_of_Food_and_Beverages_Companies_A_Case_Study_of_Del_Monte_Kenya_Ltd.pdf
Kirimi, Esther Kanyua. Multinational corporations and the violation of Human rights in Kenya: a case study of Cirio del Monte in Kenya. Diss. 2003. Link: http://erepository.uonbi.ac.ke/handle/11295/17962