Reports emerged earlier this week that Pure Circle Kenya plans to team up with the Kiambu County Government to encourage local farmers to embrace stevia as a new source of income.
Speaking with FoodNavigator.com, Priyanko Chatterjee, general manager, Pure Circle Kenya, said the "main focus" of the currently unsigned agreement between it and the Kiambu County Government is Kenyan small scale farmers.
Pure Circle Kenya believes the agreement will guarantee these farmers, typically referred to as smallholders, the best possible price for the stevia crop they produce.
"We are going to be growing stevia in Kiambu County with smallholders."
"The payment for the stevia crop, Pure Circle Kenya will pay directly to the farmers," said Chatterjee.
"There will no agent, no middle man, nothing."
"It's a huge opportunity for farmers. It will help them improve their income, which is particularly important with the situation where tea isn't doing well."
In its report, Kenyan media outlet Capital News said the agreement between Kiambu County Government and Pure Circle was designed to "popularise" the stevia crop among farmers.
The Kiambu County Government confirmed its ambition on Twitter the same day.
Monica Waiganio, Kiambu Minister of Agriculture, reportedly said it is "committed" to developing stevia production in the region.
“County residents are well prepared for the new crop that is such high demand that it’s almost hard to meet it. We are committed to promotion of innovative, commercially orientated and modern agriculture,” said Waiganio.
To support the initiative, Chatterjee said Pure Circle Kenya will provide smallholders in Kiambu with "technical assistance."
But before work begins, Pure Circle Kenya and Kiambu County Government must first seal the deal.
"We are finalising some minor points," said Chatterjee.
"But we expect to sign the contract by the end of this month," he added.