Creating business and social impact through passion and dedication

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Meet Peris Muriuki, Wamu Investments- a successful Kenyan exporter and social entrepreneur who has built a successful business including and impacting rural women. Peris is a founding member of African Women in Agribusiness Network and took part in the Spicy Kitchen Roadshow arranged through the CTS-AWAN partnership where she met and secured new trading partners in Sweden.

Peris, how did you start Wamu?  The  company  was  started  out of  sheer love of  farming  and interacting  with rural   folks  in my  upcountry home.  Often we  would meet  and the women told me the  tribulations  they were  going through  by lack  of  market for  their  cabbages, carrots, potatoes and  local peas.  Sometimes  I would carry  a few bags  of  assorted  produce  and sell  them to my  colleagues  and friends in Nairobi.

Our  company is  a family-run  company with five  directors  which are me and my  husband and  our  three  adult children  who have all taken  positions in the company with marketing, finance  and  IT.

We have many employees stretching from the farms to the pack house. In the four farms we are running there about 50 permanent staff with a majority being women. In  the pack house  we have an additional 50 permanent  staff  but in busy periods we hire  between  70 to  150  packers,  who most of them are  women.

We  deal  a lot  without growers  who  have  helped us  to produce  and we have  also  moved them  many miles  in their  lives.  We are at the moment working with the marginalized communities -Masai and Turukana.  Their  children  are now going  to school, they have  food  to feed  the families  and  also  permanent  homes.

The products we carry are french   beans,  snowpeas  and  sugarsnaps,  passion fruits,  chillies,  baby  corn,  tender stem broccoli, avocados, mangos,  okra  and a long list  of Asian  vegetables. The  company  has  market  in many countries  eg  UK, Belgium,  Holland, Germany, Norway, France, Sweden  and  Italy  which is a seasonal  market. With  the  participation of  the young directors  we  see  a  big future  especially  in European  countries

 When did you start to export and how did you find the market?

 After  sometime  there  was  a  need to  look  for  a better  market  and  commit  these  rural  women  to grow something  that was more profitable  than  the  cabbages  and  carrots  that  did not fetch  good money.  This idea was researched and brought about the export business to be born.

Getting  customers   has been  succeeded through several  ways like  attending  exhibitions  such as Fruit Logistica  or  partake in trade  missions. One of them being Spicy Kitchen roadshow with Chamber Trade and Virke last year.

Former employees of our old partners have also approached us for business in their new business. We have also been contacted through being part of Business organisations such as AWAN and FPEAK (Fresh Produce Exporters Kenya) and also directly through internet.

We have been able to retain customers by being consistent in quality, loyalty, having a good working relationship with our farmers and also being honest to our buyers.

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How did you connect with Everfresh?

My  meeting  with  Everfresh  was  in  through  the  Scandinavian   Spicy  Kitchen  Road Show  made in august 2014. That was the first time I went to their office and met with them. There was immediate follow up but the response came much later.  The process has been tedious where we had to go through due diligence and many other demands from them. We are only starting with our first shipment but we are positive for future business with them.

What would you recommend companies to do if they want to get into the EU market?

For anyone    wishing to get into EU market my recommendations is to be patient and learn your prospective customer well.  There  are  ‘’ many customers’’  but  to get a  genuine  one  you will need  to take  proper  preparation.  You need to have  your  own  production (or secure supply chain), learn the  demands  for different markets  eg  UK  market  or customers are completely  different from Scandinavian  customers. Interact with other exporters to learn about details in the business.  Attending trade shows or B2B marketing also helps. Capital for business is also crucial so as to be able to give your customers the credit they will ask. It is important to have a good relationship with your suppliers –in our case especially with the rural   women.

What would you recommend women entrepreneurs in East Africa looking to grow their business?

To have their own invention to be able to compete in the business.  Export  business is  big  and  will  always  accommodate  newcomers  but it is not  in export  that one can make  money.  One  needs  to do  a  business  with  passion  and  dedication  to be able to reap  good results.  Do a bit of market research before starting the business.  Seek for advice if needed from those already in the kind of business.  Networking will help to improve both local and export market.

My  parting  words  I  have  even as  I prepare  to  hand  over the  business  to my   children  is   the  joy  I  have  had  for  doing the business  in the last  26  years  especially  the   impact  created  to the  rural  people  by  this  company.

Find more about Peris and Wamu at

To learn more about how CTS and AWAN works to increase trade and women economic empowerment contact

/ Peris Muriuki and Sofie Wikander