Meru Herbs is a successful Kenyan agribusiness and a cooperative, producing organic herbal teas, jams, tomato sauces, chilli powder and tropical fruit syrups. The company was founded in 1991 and developed from the Ng’uuru Gakirwe Water Project (NGWP), which started in 1987 and which brings a regular water supply to approximately 20.000 people.
Meru Herbs buys organically grown herbs and fruits from many NGWP farms and sells value-added products through Fair Trade distribution channels in East Africa, Italy, UK, France, Japan, Taiwan and Canada. Set up with the mission to improve the livelihoods of smallholder women farmers, Meru Herbs has achieved great success. They provide a stable income, training and loans to almost 500 members in their community and invest their profits in a number of social projects.
Meru Herbs' herbal teas
Meru Herbs’ herbal teas are organically grown by their trained farmers along a stretch of the Kithino river in Tharaka-Nithi district in Kenya, known for its fertile soil. The most popular Meru Herbs’ teas are carcadé, lemongrass and chamomile.
Meru Herbs' social impacts
Throughout the years, Meru Herbs has engaged in multiple social projects. During the last decade, they fund school bursaries for 60 their employees and community farmers's children per year through an annual grant received from the Italian organisation Associazione Cristiana Lavoratori Italiani (ACLI).
In 2005, they started a savings and credit cooperative called Meru Herbs Rural Sacco Ltd., which currently includes more than 500 members who can access much-needed banking services, deposit their savings and benefit from low-interest loans. The cooperative significantly improves living standards of the people in this Kenyan county.
Nevertheless, Meru Herbs offers the farmers engaged in the NGWP project an opportunity to sell their produce, get trained in organic farming, improving their income and avoiding middlemen. The project employs 46 local people to maintain the irrigation system, process and package Meru Herbs products, while 20 to 100 local women are employed on a seasonal basis to prepare fruits and herbs for processing.