In the business of peanut processing
Vioma Enterprises was established in 2010 under the ownership of Major Omulo. The business entails peanut butter processing and works with over 100 farmers on contract basis in sourcing for the peanuts. Most of the farmers are members of the Peanut Growers Association where Major is also a member.
Due to collaboration with the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), the farmers have been able to access good quality seed for planting. So far, the CGT seed from Malawi through KARI has been adopted and is widely grown by peanut farmers in Homabay County. “This variety attains maturity in 3 months and farmers need to be sensitised more on modern agronomical concepts in seed production,” notes Major Omulo. Other varieties grown include Uganda Valencia and 999 I.
Major points out that farmers also need to be trained on good storage facilities to avoid post-harvest losses which in turn affect his production capacity as a processor. The company processes peanut butter and makes peanut toffees for school-going children. In a day, 50 kilogrammes of peanuts are husked, roasted and processed. “We need bigger machinery in order to increase capacity,” notes Major.
Located at the Sirare- Tanzania border, his main market are Homabay, Migori and Sirare and hopes to do cross border trade with neighbouring Tanzania. Major joined Africa Agribusiness Academy in 2010 and avers that he has gained knowledge on expansion through the interaction with other AAA members. Through the knowledge sharing and experiences gained from company visits, Major has been able to pick ideas on how to expand and also offer other extension services to farmers.
The company also offers extension services in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture. Recently, the company delved into peanut seed production in order to supplement the supply demand. Vioma also works closely with KENAFF in getting linkages and collaboration with peanut farmers. As he plans for expansion, Major expressed his need for financial support in acquiring shelling machines to fast track the production process and also increases the range of extension services.
Major is working with Phoebe on mapping availability of markets and seed capacity. He also supports other entrepreneurs involved in peanut processing. “There is need for linked collaboration with related stakeholders to work closely with seed farmers for the sustainability of peanut production.”
Seed support to farmers is a costly affair in terms of reproduction. Transport to farmers who are scattered in the area has also been a challenge. Vioma is currently working on getting certification from KEBs for its products. This will go a long way in marketing the peanut butter to supermarkets. The company is also involved in providing services such as shelling, roasting and grinding to farmers.