Nairobi — The government, and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) are set to develop a roadmap within the next two weeks that will guide in setting up a manufacturing plant that can supply the restaurant with frozen processed chips.
This was agreed during a consultative meeting held between the Ministry of Trade, and KFC to address, among other issues, how they can access locally processed chips that conform to the company's global quality standards and food safety specifications following recent public complaints on social media.
"The government is fully committed to creating a conducive business environment by assisting and protecting foreign investors while at the same time looking out for Kenyan interests, in this case, job creation, the market for local produce, and value addition of agricultural products," said Trade PS Johnson Weru.
Weru promised to engage Treasury for funds to fast-track procurement of the plant noting any of the three available cold-storage units in Meru, Kisii, and Nyandarua can be upgraded and equipped with the technology to supply local and regional consumers of the processed chips.
Jacques Theunissen, CEO of the local KFC franchise took the opportunity to clarify that their ongoing potato shortage had nothing to do with the alleged poor quality of locally grown potatoes and everything to do with lack of suppliers of the semi-cooked frozen chips they use.
He noted KFC sources over 80 percent of their other supplies from local suppliers who easily conform to global standards, and expressed optimism that GoK will urgently assist them accessing the product locally to support the local economy and cut down on their shipping costs and time.
On January 3, a tweet by the franchise that it had run out of chips elicited sharp reactions from Kenyans with some terming it as insensitive to potato farmers who struggle to find a market for their produce.
KFC currently imports potatoes from Egypt.