The Journey from Subsistence to Commercial Viability: The Case of Meru Herbs, Kenya

Fred Yamoah, Conall O’Caoimh, Christina Donnelly, Sally Sawaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The genesis of Meru Herbs, Kenya is traced to a decision to grow plants as a means of providing an alternative source of revenue to pay for a balance due on a water-project about 14 years ago. Such a modest initiative has enabled 600 families to move from subsistence to commercial farming. As a cooperative, Meru Herbs has made significant improvements to their products by moving up the value-chain through processing organic certified ingredients into gourmet foods. Critical factors contributing to the success of Meru Herbs include a
creative product-mix designed to overcome logistics costs, customer focused, and strategic partnerships with Friends of Meru Italy and Value Added in Africa which provided provisions for investment and market brand development respectively. The performance of Meru’s own branded tomato sauces, which are the first to bear the Proudly Made in Africa label, enter international markets provide new opportunities and challenges going forward.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-144
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Food and Agribusiness Management Review
Issue numberSpecial Issue B
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014


  • Meru herbs
  • ethical supply chain
  • value-added in Africa
  • Commercial viability
  • international markets


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