On Thursday at Strathmore Business School, there was a session to highlight some of the opportunities and challenges for Kenyan companies that wanted to get into the farm export business.
Kenya is known for flower exports, but not so much for fruits and vegetables which can be quite lucrative and are better suited to the climate here. An example was cited that a kilo of dhania (coriander) that sells for Kshs 50 per kilo in Nairobi, can fetch €3-4 euros in Europe.
- Know the markets. Buyers have no obligation to buying from Kenyans. Companies have to know how to sell at expos where everyone is selling the same fruits and vegetables.
- Kenyans are known for sending good samples, but the problem that buyers in other countries have with many Kenya companies is that they are later not consistent in quality and quantity of food exports.
- How to identify opportunities and threats in the news; Things like Brexit, earthquakes and climate changes and others like Muslim migration across Europe.
- One can’t venture into exports unless they interact with the government – HCDA, Export Promotion Council, KEPHIS and others like the FPEAK, and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Also, potential exporters must update themselves on changing regulations.
- How to manage finance when upfront payments are rare, and there are international frauds who take deliveries but don’t pay. Also how to avoid the many fake consultants.
- The biggest challenge in this country is labour, not capital! One solution is shared labour for exporters and farms who can’t employ full-time skilled workers.
- If one is not in charge of their own logistics, they are not in business.
The Strathmore Business School exploring international markets program class takes place early next year and involves two modules: The first will take the class to the Fruit Logistica in Berlin, in February 2018 which is the world’s leading trade fair for the international fresh produce business where they will learn about the packaging, presentation, logistics, marketing. and other business aspects at the fair that had had 3,000 exhibitors from 84 countries and 76,000 visitors this year. Then at module two in Nairobi, they will learn about local production, logistics, local bank and financial options, obtaining global certification, branding, and other aspects of the food value chain. The deadline for applications is December 20.