International supply chains became the hot topic in Kenya when KFC said it was unable to offer fries, according to the BBC. This was because it could not import its preferred pre-sliced potatoes from Egypt.
Instead, customers were being offered alternatives such as a portion of the national staple ugali, or maize meal.
The chain does not source potatoes locally, despite them being commonly grown and farmers having to sell them at low prices.
Potatoes are, in fact, Kenya’s second-most consumed crop after maize, and are cultivated mostly by small-scale farmers.
The problem, apparently, was that potential local suppliers had not gone through KFC’s quality assurance process that makes sure “our food is safe for consumption by our customers”, the company’s East Africa chief executive Jacques Theunissen told the Standard newspaper.
Cue the social media outrage, calls to boycott the fast food chain and an eventual pledge by the company to find a suitable Kenyan supplier.
The row exposed the gaps in the agricultural system that mean some farmers are denied a decent home market.