BY JOE MODIE
The other day, the local franchise of American fast food chain KFC made a curious announcement on its social media pages: that their outlets had run out of chips.
Curious in the sense that the average Kenyan could not comprehend how KFC can run out of chips, when in Nyandarua, barely an hour from Nairobi, potatoes are rotting in the shambas and stores, for lack of market.
Then the details started emerging: The real reason KFC suffered this shortage was due to the fact that they rely on imported potatoes to make their chips and that there were delays in delivery from their overseas suppliers.
And you ask yourself, for how long has this been going on and who has allowed this to happen?
Listen to KFC Chief Executive for East Africa Jacques Theunissen speaking to Business Daily.
“The reason we cannot buy local at the moment is all suppliers need to go through the global QA approval process and we cannot bypass that even if we run out to ensure that our food is safe for consumption by our customers,” he said.
Surely, our farmers are suffering losses, yet giant chains like KFC are importing potatoes, that will be eaten by Kenyans. What standards is the KFC guy talking about?
We have been eating our locally produced potatoes for the longest time, then someone comes to tell us that they are not safe and that they do not meet the standards. What idiocy!
Have we become so self-loathing that we swallow crap from foreign business people that what we produce locally does not ‘meet standards’. Whose standards?
And you wondered why anything bought at KFC joints is so expensive; because they have to cover their importation costs.
Yet, you will encounter brainwashed Kenyans who, without batting an eyelid, will tell you that they buy expensively from these joints because it is quality.
What arrant nonsense!
It would be understandable if the potatoes produced locally are being exported, for consumption, outside the country. Then, we would not have a problem to our potatoes being subjected to whatever standards.
A good example are the Kenyan avocados being exported to Europe and China.
They are subjected to some of the most stringent standards, sometimes it appears ridiculous. But hey, we have no problem with that, it is their market and they have the right to impose whatever standards they wish.
KFC is an investor in Kenya and among other things they have to operate in our country according to our rules.
The barest minimum is that if you deal with food products, then the rule of the thumb should be that you only import what isn’t produced here.
If they find that difficult to follow they can look for other markets to invest in. Can you imagine our local Kenchic opening branches in the US and insisting on getting their potatoes from Nyandarua?
Their license-seeking papers would be shredded at the American embassy. If that is the case, why then do we allow such double standards to prevail?
We need to protect our agricultural industry if we ever hope to drag our country out of our current financial mess.
Enter Moses Kuria.
Moses Kuria can be so recklessly naive?
The moment the Gatundu South MP saw the tweet from KFC, he reached for his smartphone and petulantly sought to know whether Nyandarua had a governor.
Surely, Kuria has been an MP for close to eight years now. Can he be so recklessly naive?
It is the work of MPs to make laws that ensure that investors like KFC operate in Kenya in ways that are beneficial to the country and not the other way round.
Kuria should get well sooner so that he comes back to the real world; that luxury hospital bed, in Dubai, is not good for him. It is dulling his thought process.