Farm turns dreaded crocodiles into source of fashion material and job creator in Malindi
A British investor has set up a Sh150 million crocodile farm in Kilifi county for breeding and producing high quality skins manufactured into luxurious handbags in the United Kingdom.
Mildred Perker, the founder and chief executive officer of Kazuri London Crocodile Farm in Kakoneni, Malindi subcounty, uses the skins of the Nile crocodiles to make handbags meant for high-end fashion lovers in the world.
A 30cm handbag produced from skins of four crocodiles normally costs about Sh3 million.
Perker came up with the idea five years ago to help her get raw materials for manufacturing her products and chose Malindi due to an environment conducive for breeding crocodiles.
Normally, crocodiles require a temperature of 32–33 degrees centigrade to survive. That’s why it is difficult to breed them in London.
After research, Perker identified Kakoneni area as the best suitable site for the farm, and she acquired four acres to begin work.
A three year old Nile Crocodile at Kazuri London crocodile farm Mildred Perker London Kazuri Crocodile Farm in Kakoneni area of Malindi constituency on December 10 Photo/Aphonce Gari
REAPING THE REWARDS
Today, five years down the line, the farm is home to hundreds of crocodiles young and up to three years old brought up there.
On December 10, journalists toured the farm during the official launch of a slaughterhouse graced by nominated senator and Senate Chief Whip Beatrice Elachi and attended by 200 residents.
The farm is well secured with different cages, some holding the big crocodiles, each in a single cubicle and other bigger cages for the breeding ones, which are smaller and stay in groups.
Emmanuel Nyambu a worker at Kazuri London crocodile farm owned by Mildred Perker in Kakoneni area of Malindi constituency on December 10 attends to crocodiles Photo/Aphomce Gari
BREEDING AND RANCHING
Perker took the journalists around and showed how the “dangerous” crocodiles are being bred up to the time they are skinned and ready for export.
“I came here five years ago, when there was nothing on the ground. I had a fashion business in London and I needed to use the crocodile skin,” she said.
To start with, she had to set up the commercial ranch for capturing and breeding the Nile crocodile.
Perker sought clearance from KWS to get a permit for breeding and exporting processes of the skins for making the final products and meat, which is given to a charity organisation in Britain.
“We are licensed by the KWS to capture, breed and sell Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus Niloticus),” she said. “We produce the highest quality skin to meet the demands of our international clients.”
The farm combines a captive breeding programme with commercial ranching, linking conservation of crocodiles with benefits to residents.
She said the government sees crocodile as natural and renewable resource with considerable potential for sustainable commercial use.
The CEO revealed that her company works in complete transparency with the KWS and other government agencies.
For quality purposes, each skin is individually checked and graded.
“As a supplier to the luxury market, all of our skins are either premium or grade 1 quality,” the CEO said.
Perker said the company strongly believes that commercial trade of crocodile skin is beneficial to the conservation of the species and its local ecosystem.
Emmanuel Nyambu a worker at Kazuri London crocodile farm owned by a British investor Mildred Perker London in Kakoneni area of Malindi constituency on December 10 attends to crocodiles with coleagues
The crocodile farming has benefited residents in remote areas, where most people often have few alternative sources of income and possibilities for economic development are limited.
“We are a local employer and provide much-needed work to the local communities and valuable trade income for the country as a whole,” she said.
Elachi, who was the chief guest, was impressed to see a woman strive to come up with such a grand project.
She said since the investor initiated the project, there must have been a lot of challenges and assured her of support from the Jubilee government.
“One of the things the President has stated is if a woman is investing in such a business, we must give her support. It’s a business dominated by men, both in Kenya and Africa. It’s rare to find women doing it,” she said.
British investor Mildred Perker the CEO of Kazuri london Crocodile farm with his manager Patrick Anguba show a sample of the nile crocodile in Kakoneni area of Malindi constituency on December 10
Elachi said the biggest challenge investors face is not understanding what residents want.
She advised the Kazuri London Crocodile farm to have different programmes with the residents so as to understand them.
She suggested that the company could come up with programme of sponsorship for best students in the area to bring the community closer.
The senator told Perker to invest in the community, as it would prevent competitors from using them to fight the investment.
The new slaughterhouse built by British investor Mildred Perker of Kazuri London Crocodile farm where Nile crocodile skin will be slaughtered in Kakoneni area of Malindi constituency on December 10. The slaughterhouse is open for locals free of charge Photo/Alphonce Gari
CREDIT: The Star
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