Firm tackles malnutrition with fortified flours

Enterprise

Firm tackles malnutrition with fortified flours


flour

Afya Boost Care Limited staff marketing the Afya Boost healthy flour mix formula. PHOTO | POOL

Summary

  • Boniface Keya the CEO and founder says that they went into business after realizing that malnutrition was a serious health challenge in the region.
  • The startup rides on technology, using Nursing Home App for its marketing, purchasing, distribution, product assessment, monitoring contact tracking, and advisory usage of their flour products.
  • In distributing its products, the startup has embraced a model where 70 percent of the products are sold directly to schools, NGOs and households while 25 percent are sold through intermediaries like the retail shops.

Kilifi is among the regions most affected by malnutrition. Just last December, county administrators raised the alarm as drought escalated the situation leading to wasting away of both the young and old.

Boniface Keya has found a way to provide a solution through his start-up firm Afya Boost Care that provides fortified flour and teas at an affordable price.

Boniface Keya the CEO and founder says that they went into business after realizing that malnutrition was a serious health challenge in the region.

“Good nutrition and feeding practices are critical to a child’s growth and development particularly during the first two years of life,” Keya explains.

The firm started with Sh350,000 in initial capital investment sources most of its raw materials including amaranth grains, mushroom, and pumpkin seeds from farmers in western Kenya while baobab fruits, sorghum and moringa are sourced within Kilifi.

The startup rides on technology, using Nursing Home App for its marketing, purchasing, distribution, product assessment, monitoring contact tracking, and advisory usage of their flour products.

In distributing its products, the startup has embraced a model where 70 percent of the products are sold directly to schools, NGOs and households while 25 percent are sold through intermediaries like the retail shops.

On average the startup generates a Sh 50,000 monthly profit.

Currently, the firm is forced to hire machinery, making it difficult to scale up as well as adding production costs.

But plans are underway to purchase its own machinery, enabling it to expand its market coverage to all parts of the country.

The startup also embraces online platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media platforms in marketing and advertisements. They also participate in innovation workshops, exhibitions and conferences in an effort to meet new people and sell products.

The company also partners with other external stakeholders in addressing nutritional challenges in societies by creating awareness about healthy nutritional feedings, distribution of our fortified flour products, and other services.

According to Keya, the immune-boosting flour is processed using natural methodologies recommended by standard food safety procedures.

The company sells its products in the coastal region and targets all schools in the region with a packet of fortified flour going for Ksh 300.

Though a success today the startup has had its own fair share of challenges as one most of the raw materials are seasonal and outsourcing them pushes up the cost of production.

According to Keya, there is a need to eradicate malnutrition and other forms of immunodeficiency using organic feeding. The company targets over 50,000 young children in the remote areas of Kilifi County and slums of Mombasa as well as 1000 expectant mothers.

In reaching children below age 10 the company partners with schools where they support school feeding programs courtesy of Kenya Red Cross Society in Kilifi and county governments in the coastal regions.

The startup is also geared towards supporting and empowering women through entrepreneurship and innovation with the majority of the shareholders being women.

The startup also plans to diversify their venture to include more afya based products.

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