Before heading to America, Kamau Waithaka looked after dairy cows and reared chicken at the family farm in Dagoretti, Kenya. Even though he was a successful businessman in the US, Kamau’s passion for farming would not allow him to be content with his idyllic American life. In June 2014, he relocated to Kenya and invested in United Farmers & Processors (UFP), a start-up chicken breeding and processing venture that took off in July 2015.
“We approached several commercial banks but none of them would touch a start-up. GroFin funded our start-up where banks were unwilling to take the risk,” says Kamau.
With over 30 years of business success in the US, Kamau wants to revolutionise chicken rearing in his country with the sophistication and professionalism of poultry farming in advanced economies and contribute to national food security. Although various small chicken rearing businesses and a few big national poultry producers exist in the country, the poultry sector is one of the rapidly expanding sectors in Kenya and the current demand for poultry meat exceeds supply.
“I plan to transform UFP into a model farm where many existing and potential chicken farmers will come to learn modern and sophisticated broiler rearing methods that will help them improve their chicken rearing techniques and consequently increase their production numbers,” adds Kamau.
Kenyan entrepreneur Kamau Waithaka is selling his US home to pursue his passion for farming
Not only is UFP producing and supplying a food product with an unmet demand, thus making the product more affordable, but is also improving nutrition by making chicken a form of protein more readily available to the local population.
The company plans to recruit local youth from Kajiado with low level skills, enabling them to earn a livelihood, which for many of them, has been merely a dream so far. The company will also bring much needed amenities to the low-income members of the community by sinking a borehole and providing them with clean drinking water.
“Despite the high risk profile of UFP, being a capital-intensive start-up, GroFin partnered with Kamau because his venture in the agribusiness sector provides food security and is a key impact target sector we would like to support,” says Rosemary Mulwa, Investment Manager, GroFin Kenya.