There is a huge nutritional gap in natural products and supplements in Kenya and no one is daring to bridge the gap. As a manufacturer of natural products, Francisca Ochieng’, the proprietor and owner of Fava Herb-an ecommerce platform that sells natural products, says that many stakeholders don’t value natural products. This is despite them (natural products) playing a critical role in our health.
This inspired her to create a platform where she sells natural products.
Unlike Kenya, other developed economies like America and England rewards natural product enthusiasts. “Insurance companies reward clients for maintaining healthy lifestyles like working out in the gym, using natural products among others. By adopting a healthy lifestyle, it potentially reduces the insurer burden of insuring people against visceral diseases like cancer and diabetes.”
Her love for nature inspired the whole concept of the interior décor at her front store in Nairobi, she says. “I wanted an open plan with an unevenness of nature where I would sell my organic items.”
Francisca sells a wide range of natural products.
“We have a variety of wellness, beauty and food products.”
Personal care products available at her shop include beauty, skin and self care products.
“We also have a wide range of cleaning products and great natural detergents which can be used as an alternative to conventional detergents.”
Food items include breakfast, dinner and spices. With coffee stocks from Ethiopia, DRC, Uganda and Kenya, the shop offers endless variety for the coffee enthusiasts. “The DRC Coffee comes from the Virunga ridges and it is certified organic, while the Ethiopian one comes from the birth place of coffee. Most are hand roasted, pure and refreshing.”
Asked whether her products can be shipped globally without any restrictions, she readily acknowledges that they can. “Our spices are traditionally grown with organic components and have passed European tests for organic certifications.”
She has sold as far as US, UK and Asia (Malaysia, Singapore) and got raving feedbacks for her products outstanding quality.
Products like Dhania and Moringa powder can be used as medicinal snacks, she says.
She also stock superior tea and cocoa, which are available in bulk as well.
“In order to ensure that we get quality products from farmers, we have a very thorough quality assurance mechanism to verify the products and make sure they’re compliant with regulators. We work directly with producers. This ensures we lock out middle men who compromise the quality and price of such products,” says the youthful entrepreneur.
Appreciation of organic products
Despite championing the use of natural and organic products in the region, the entrepreneur acknowledges that the challenge is far from over. The industry has its pressing issues that need to be addressed.
For instance, there is a misconception about natural products. Most people think that they are perishable, or expire after a short period. This is not true, she says. “We have natural products that can stay on the shelves for ages.”
The increase in lifestyle related diseases has forced people to be more health conscious. “People I met or who come to my shop are starting to appreciate the value of organic products in their health.”
“We now have a range of loyal customers for the short time we have been here,” says Francisca.
Above all, structural reforms that need to be adopted from a policy level for the industry to thrive, she advises.
“It is ironical that the use of natural products doesn’t fall under the ministry of health in Kenya, but under the ministry of sport, gender and culture. The government considers that organic products are mostly used in different cultures in traditional ways, making it a cultural subject,” explains the entrepreneur.
It would be great if the ministry of health understands the health benefits of organic product and create awareness about its uses and benefits across the country, she opines.
Fava Herb has a website and ecommerce platform. You can visit the site and make an order. “We do same day delivery within Nairobi. We also ship worldwide and our prices are competitive.”
Surprisingly many people order via the firm’s Instagram page.
Thus far, Francisca has incorporated different payment models such as cash, mobile money, cheque, bank transfers and bitcoins.
The entrepreneur aims to champion the use of natural products and play important roles in shaping the health discourse in the region.