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How Owen kept his community fed during the COVID-19 crisis

Trans Nzoia county is widely regarded as Kenya’s bread basket. This is due to the fact that a bulk of the maize consumed locally is grown there. Ugali being a staple food in most Kenyan homes makes this grain one of the most essential ingredients to have in the house. 

Owen, a Tala customer, knows it too well. He actually knows it better than most.  Not only does Owen hail from these fertile rolling hills, but he is also a grade one maize flour miller for his community. 

Feeding Kenyans is his passion and responsibility. For him, profits come second which is why he has priced his flour low, a move he says makes it possible for members in his community to afford to put food on the table. He also provides his milling services to subsitent maize farmers who grow crops for their own consumption. These farmers are able to enjoy ugali without the additional cost of paying for fancy packaging and taxation that can be found in packaged flour off the supermarket shelves. 

When COVID-19 struck, and preventive measures were put in place, Owen knew that his mill would be required now more than ever to ensure that his community-members had a source of flour. He applied for the Tala community support loan through Tala’s COVID-19 Rebuild Fund and used this loan to increase his stock of maize. He also stocked on other grains to provide a variety of options for his community. 

Owen knows that while other activities can be scaled back during this period, nutrition cannot be one of them. “Right now everyone has to keep on eating so that’s why I am in this kind of business.”

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