So, Kenya imports eggs! Even toothpicks from China! Kenya is the most developed country in East and Central Africa, but in a global scale it’s still among the least developed countries. Different governments have based their political agenda on the development of this country. This gave birth to the famous Vision 2030 which is a strong advocate for the promotion of locally produced goods. Different initiatives have come up to help steer Kenya towards attaining this vision. Brand Kenya Board was established to help expose Kenyan brands to the global market. Other initiatives like, Buy Kenya-Build Kenya, are also geared towards the same goal. However, the local products still find it hard to survive the market thanks to the over flooding with imported goods.
A very high percentage of Kenyans do not get markets for 90% of their total produce. That is the magnitude of post-harvest loss. Absence of markets means huge losses. Take an example of vegetable products that don’t last long. Kenya recently imported maize from Mexico and it’s not because Kenya cannot produce maize but it is down to the frustrations of the unavailability of market. They therefore choose to venture in other things. Let’s be real how many of us have gone to the market and found their preferred vender has closed shop? Sometimes you find things so cheap you wonder how they make profit. In 2010, we saw farmers in Rift Valley pour their milk on the streets. Was it that Kenyans do not drink milk? Kenya imports fish from China despite us having lakes and ponds.
Vision 2030 heavily relies on technology. UBRICA is using the blockchain technology to bring the vision to reality. It has outlined a unit known as a Ubrica Retail Clinical Center (URCC). The URCC contains a medical clinic, a retail store, and a produce value addition and quality improvement workshop. Let’s take an example, you have a village in Kakamega. It will have a clinic and a fruit retail shop and quality improvement workshop in one unit. This means mama mboga will do her business and develop her business and stay healthy as well. We’ve seen people die not because there are no healthcare facilities but because there is no money.
Having a retail shop doesn’t mean your goods will sell. Ubrica has gone ahead and created an online store, Soko Janja, that gives exclusively local products a platform to trade. Just like cryptocurrency works without the third party. Soko Janja will operate in a peer-to-peer way without Ubrica’s involvement. This means mama mboga who has a retail store in Kakamega can do a direct transaction with a customer in Nairobi. It also means that a dairy farmer in Rift Valley doesn’t have to pour his milk on the streets while he can easily put it up on Soko Janja and sell.
A lot of people are skeptical about the blockchain technology because of the noise around it, but what people do not realize is that it can be used to our advantage. There’s no limit to human imagination and UBRICA is proving exactly that by creating ways to help the local communities.
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