Prosper

Kanyije has earned Shs530m in exports

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Ms Kanyije arranges boxes of produce in the store room.

Ms Kanyije arranges boxes of produce in the store room. Founded by her husband, KK Foods is now a major exporter of fresh agricultural products to Europe among other destinations. Photo by Faiswal Kasirye 

By  ISMAIL MUSA LADU

Posted  Tuesday, January 7   2014 at  02:00

In Summary

The overwhelming demand for fresh produce has made the Kanyije family grow from supplying yams, matooke, sugarcane, egg plants and chili pepper to just four customers to 12 big clients, mostly in Europe.

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I in a short time, Mr James Kanyije has done what only a few other exporter of fresh produce have ever achieved.

His company successfully exported over 40 tonnes of organic fresh pepper to Europe. He did all that in a space of one month.

And for just those consignments, his KK Foods Company fetched $210,000 (about Shs530m).

In an interview with Prosper Magazine, it emerged that he could have done much better if he was not constrained by supplies issues— mostly arising from the producers end.

How he started
Mr Kanyije ventured into business after getting disgusted with foreign investors whose mission he claims was more leaned towards ripping off the country than developing it.

He said: “I was appalled by the kind of investors we have. Some only care about repatriating profits instead of reinvesting them.”

“And for that I decided to quit my job as a yield controller with Uganda Fish Packers and establish my own company, something I encourage Ugandans to never fear doing - starting your own enterprise,” Mr Kanyije continued.

Over time, he has encouraged his wife who is a medical practitioner to join him run the company, a move, Ms Kanyije said she is enjoying thus far.

Beating the odds
Although Mr Kanyije was orphaned while at school, he never despaired but went on to graduate in 1996 with a diploma in Business Studies from Nakawa Business School.

Shortly after his graduation, the 44-year-old had a stint as a yield controller with Uganda Fish Packers.

But after working with the company for four years, he threw in the towel to partner with some foreigners to start a vegetable and fruit exporting company called Ice mark.
He admits that things didn’t go as smooth as expected, prompting him to finally start KK Foods two years ago although it was registered in early 2004.

Growing the company
Under his leadership, he has managed to turn KK Foods into a billion shilling worth company.

He said: “KK Foods is now worth between Shs 6 to 8 billion. But my dream is to have it turn into a company that will stand the test of time even long after we are no more.”

KK Foods works with at least 10,000 farmers across the agricultural sector. It has created direct employment to 50 people and about 8,000 indirectly.
To widen its connections, it has established presence across the entire region but with emphasis in western Uganda.

Kanyije calls on government to support

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