Potato chips and confectionaries maker Norda Industries has resumed operations seven months after a fire ravaged its Nairobi factory and forced it to close down.
Reeling from the vicious fire disaster that nearly crippled its budding business empire, Norda has picked up the pieces with calculated speed that could see it not just reclaiming its spot as the leading snacks manufacturer and distributor in the country but also stretch its expansion into the wider East African market.
The family-run firm, though in its recuperation stage, has employed rigorous strategies, including diversification of its merchandise and controlling source of raw materials, in a bid to compensate for lost time, and to speedily catch up with its competitors who capitalised their market commercialisation in its absence.
The fire that engulfed the firm’s premises on Mombasa Road in June last year, burnt down properties worth over Sh100 million, and according to an independent forensic expert’s investigations the incident was caused by an electrical glitch, forcing it to close down for seven months, according to Norda management.
However, the horrid incident has not marred its enterprising team from doing business, scaling up their market share in the country and further penetration into the regional market, with particular interest in Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. “There is need to ease way of doing business with our neighbouring countries and to open regional borders to allow businesses and people to cross over, venture and benefit from the bigger market share. It will help to learn from each other and to create jobs and other opportunities in that value chain,” Norda co-founder Faraz Ramji said.
Acknowledging that Norda has already established a distribution partner in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, Mr Ramji says that his firm is shopping for enterprising and reliable distributors to partner with in order to further merchandise in Tanzania, Uganda and DRC.
Shaheen Lilani, Mr Ramji’s uncle, recently joined the company and ensured that the company came back with a bang. Norda has launched several new products to satisfy the taste buds of their customers. The latest range includes Urban Treats, quality, hard boiled sweets as well as Tinga Tasties which is a healthy corn puff snack with no artificial colours and no MSG.
To scale up, Norda also intends to venture into food, beverage and personal care sectors too. The crisp’s sector major challenge, according to Mr. Ramji, still remains lack of consistent supply of potatoes hence its sensitising drive. “We have contracted smallholder farmers across the country to ensure constant and timely supply of quality potatoes which is one of our main raw materials.”
“We offer better prices to the farmers directly thereby providing them with sustainable livelihoods. We also provide training to the farmers through partnerships with technical experts and help them to gain access to high quality inputs.”