Secure courier service
delivers food to remote farms in Kenya
G4S’s secure courier service in Kenya is a vital link in the country’s agricultural supply chain as it enables small farmers in remote areas across the country to access seeds, veterinary medicines, pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers to grow farm businesses and support food security.
In 2015, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals set a global target to end hunger, achieve food security and double the productivity of small scale farmers by 2030. Agriculture accounted for more than 30 per cent of Kenya’s GDP in 2015 according to the World Bank and it employs almost two thirds of the country’s workforce.
G4S is the market leading courier service delivering to small farmers, directly or indirectly transporting 80 per cent of the products needed to increase the agricultural yields of farms. G4S delivers 350 tonnes of products annually across Kenya to small farmers, with dispatch centres strategically distributed in 141 locations.
Kenya’s GDP is expected to grow by 6 per cent in 2017 according to the World Bank, driven by the burgeoning agricultural industry. More than three quarters of the population lives in rural areas and rural households rely on farming for the majority of their income, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). The rural economy relies on small scale farmers, who produce the majority of Kenya's agricultural output. Less than 20 per cent of land in Kenya is fit to be farmed, with the majority of farms in the central provinces and the Rift Valley, with some livestock farming in the north and east of the country.
G4S Secure Logistics Director, Geoffrey Mwove said; “Our service reaches small farmers in multiple locations and is absolutely vital to their livelihoods and local economies. Access to good quality seeds, fertiliser and medicines is critical as farmers try to grow their businesses beyond just supporting their family unit. We provide these farmers with a connection through our network to the best possible agricultural products.”
Within Kenya’s towns and cities G4S provides a one hour express and a same day delivery service. The majority of agricultural supplies are sent on G4S overnight couriers, from town to town and city to city, before being couriered during the day from dispatch centres to farms and designated pick up points such as local retail premises. G4S also provides secure document courier services, getting important paperwork from the manufacturer or supplier to the farmer. In rural areas the Kenyan authorities are working towards implementing an address system. Today, few people have post codes and so every shipment must contain details such as the customers’ name, mobile number, street name if one exists and the nearest local landmark.
Geoffrey Mwove said; “The quality of our service depends on great local knowledge, the best fleet and the biggest network of dispatch centres to get to our customers.”
Robberies are a significant threat to the courier trucks which are protected by armed Kenyan police officers overnight between towns and cities. Private security firms are prohibited from carrying firearms in Kenya. The produce carried – typically small packages of seeds, fertilisers or medicines – are of significant value to the farmers who have purchased them. G4S has a fleet of 170 trucks and the same number of motorbikes delivering packages across Kenya daily.
“Our customers want both the reliability of our courier services and the protection of the products that they have bought,” said Geoffrey Mwove.
One of the biggest challenges faced by the courier service in rural areas is the quality of the road surfaces as the majority are not paved or tarmacced, according to Mwove. Many roads are impassable as they are too narrow for trucks to access and roads are regularly flooded, due to poor drainage.
“The road network in remote areas is a big problem,” said Mwove.Agricultural products are transported from cities daily in G4S’ fleet of 7-13 tonne trucks. The courier service is able to transport anything from a small bag of seeds to a piece of large mechanical farming equipment either new, or for repair. G4S’ courier service handles shipments from manufacturers and distributors including Norbrook Kenya, Osho Chemical, Ultravetis Kenya Ltd, Unga Farm Care EA Ltd, East African Seeds Co. Ltd, Eagle Vet Kenya Ltd, David & Shirtliff and Amirian Ltd.