Equatorial Nut Processors Ltd. (ENP) joined the African Cashew Alliance ACA Advisory Board as the first African-based company in the body in 2012. ENP, one of East Africa’s leading nut processors, was established in 1992 and initially focused on processing macadamia nuts.
Prior to 1992, there was a single Macadamia Nut Company in Kenya which controlled the large Macadamia Nut sub-sector. Upon a Judicial High Court Judgement, Equatorial Nut Processors Ltd was authorised to break more than two decades of monopoly control and enter the sector. Following this decision, ENP promoted macadamia cultivation by small-scale farmers and enacted a variety of incentives for the farmers which included access to credit, scholarships for children of the poor farmers and provisions of grafted and high yielding macadamia seedlings. This sub-sector expanded tremendously and moved from a capacity of about 10,000 MT to approximately 30,000 MT of Nut In Shell (NIS). On account of these efforts, Mr. Peter Munga, the Founder of ENP, was granted a laureate of Yala Award in 2009 for his entrepreneurship and for enabling millions of smallholder farmers to access affordable savings and credit facilities.
In January 1993, ENP established a nut processing plant in Muranga and commenced operations with initial export of Macadamia Kernel to Marcfarms in Hawaii, USA. The processing capacity has since expanded from the initial 2,000 MT of Nut In Shell (NIS) to 9,000 MT of NIS.
ENP has shown incredible growth over the past couple of years and continues to surpass industry benchmarks. Today ENP occupies a state of the art agro-processing facility located on a 15 acre site in Muranga County. This has enabled the company to expand its product range to include cashew nuts, peanuts and fortified foods. The cashew nut processing unit began with an output of 2400 MT in 2012 and has since expanded to 3000 MT. The board is committed to increasing this capacity further in the coming years. ENP currently supports over 100,000 small scale farmers and employs over 2000 workers, of which 80% are women.
ENP has received certification from HACCP, an internationally recognized certification required by the EU, and ISO 22,000 a global food safety management standard. Additionally, ENP became the 5th ACA-Seal approved company in September 2013, meeting the necessary food quality and safety benchmarks.
The African Cashew Alliance is especially excited about ENP joining its Advisory Board because the company will be the first African-based AB member ever since the inception of the ACA in 2006. This represents an important landmark for the Alliance. The Advisory Board is the governing body that provides strategic advice to the ACA’s Executive Committee and Secretariat. As an Advisory Board member, ENP will make an annual contribution to the ACA budget of at least US $50,000 and join the ranks of others promoting the African cashew industry: USAID, GIZ, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Intersnack (Europe’s largest snack manufacturer) and KRAFT Food (one of the world leading food processor) and OLAM International a Singapore based global trading commodities company. Financial commitment from the private sector to ACA is growing rapidly as the international industry increasingly recognizes ACA’s essential role as the single cashew industry platform in Africa.