Tag Archives: Franchisee

Great milestone as Farm Shop opens its 50th outlet and first one in Nyandarua County

A satisfied farmer leaves Farm Shop Outlet
A satisfied farmer leaves Farm Shop Outlet

What started in mid 2012 as a noble idea to address smallholder farmer challenges of access to quality agricultural inputs and services in Kenya has become the most trusted agribusiness platform for smallholder farmers .The journey to the 50th franchise mark started with a pilot of four shops in Karura,Gachie,Ngecha and Zambezi markets. It was clear from the pilot that provision of timely quality inputs coupled with tailor designed local farmer training on best agronomy and livestock practices as well as a clean shop with superior design would be the biggest accelerator to local farmer agricultural productivity.
Kiambu and Nyandarua County
The success of the pilot has so far been replicated in forty nine other markets and communities in Kiambu and Murang’a County. Thousands of small-scale farmers have so far benefited from Farm Shop services through access to quality agricultural inputs as well as participating in livestock demonstration training events, crop demonstration events, free farmer clinic days, promo days and supplier days.

A certified Farmer learning Centre
A certified Farmer learning Centre

Nyandarua County
Agriculture is a mainstay of the county. The farmers mainly practice crop and dairy farming. The main value chains include maize, wheat, garden peas, snow peas, beans, cabbages, carrots and pyrethrum. Maize, wheat, garden peas, beans and Irish potato are the major food crops while pyrethrum is a major industrial crop. Major horticultural crops include cabbages, carrots, snow peas and again the Irish potato and garden peas. Other livestock products other than dairy include beef, chevron, poultry, pork, mutton, eggs, poultry meat and wool. In addition the county also produces honey and wax.
The major crops grown for food supply are maize, Irish potato, wheat, garden peas and beans. The major crops in the county are maize, wheat, garden peas, beans and Irish potatoes with pyrethrum being the most important industrial crop. Dairy enterprise is the most important livestock enterprise in the county, followed by beef production, poultry and mutton.
Farm Shop Njabini Launch
20th November is an historical day for Farm Shop as staff, local farmers and other stake holders witness the launch of Farm Shop -Njabini franchise outlet, the 50th in the network and the first shop in the county. More than fifty farmers attended this historic event and benefited from agronomy and livestock training sessions from experts drawn from Farm Shop technical team, Coopers Kenya, Biodeposit, Unga farm care, Twiga chemicals and Osho chemicals.Famers also enjoyed gifts that included Farm Shop branded merchandize like caps Dust coats and T-shits.

Njabini Franchisee Joyce Mutuota and her Daughter Jackie
Njabini Franchisee Joyce Mutuota and her Daughter Jackie

The Franchisee-pioneer in the County
Joyce Mutuota was all smiles as Farm Shop staff and local farmers joined in celebrating the unveiling of her newly branded and converted shop. Her shop was previously referred to as Taji Agrovet and had waited for three months before she qualified to become a Farm Shop franchise. The screening process was not easy and I thank God I emerged top of all the candidates who were after carrying Farm Shop brand in this town, says a delighted Joyce’’ .She now has high hopes that her business will become stronger, bigger and her customers will benefit from Farm Shop services. Joyce is happy that now she has guaranteed supply of quality products from Farm Shop and she will become part of the change that Farm Shop has brought to Nyandarua County.

This Feature been written by Samuel Munguti  Please contact me at samuel.munguti@farmshop.co.ke. If you have any question about becoming a franchisee at Farm Shop.


ROSEMARY’S JOURNEY WITH FARMSHOP

Rosemary Wanjiku Kimani was born and brought up in Ndeiya Limuru, attended Kiriri Primary School and later joined St. Mary’s Girls Thigio. After school she took a computer package course for three months.  Her father wanted her to be a teacher but teaching was not her calling and she opted to take a catering course. ‘’ My father could not hear anything of this” Rosemary says.

Rosemary at Farm Shop HQ
Rosemary at Farm Shop HQ

Her father gave her the opportunity to choose a different career path and as they were discussing with her friends the idea of becoming a veterinary doctor came up and through the friend she managed to get admission details from YMCA college of Agriculture and Technology.

Her father had no objection and she was admitted to the college in 2010 to take a Diploma course in Animal health and production. “I really enjoyed my college time and the earlier position about agriculture because in high school I really hated agriculture as a subject” She says.

Immediately after graduation in November 2012 she got employment at Limuru agrovet and worked for only eight days as the working conditions were not favourable. After this she went back to her home area and put up a general shop together with her brother. From this base she started practicing veterinary work in the community neighboring the shop.

The experience was good although there were challenges of getting paid by the farmers. As she continued to work in the field with farmers she got a call from her college colleague of a vacancy requiring computer skills which she gladly opted for due to the poor returns that she was getting from her field experience.

She later came to learn that it was one of the Franchisee’s at Farm Shop. This was her initial contact with Farm Shop although the position didn’t materialize. She was later taken to Farm Shop offices and given activation work which entailed looking for farmers and informing them about Farm Shop’s products and services they were offering.  She was attached to Ndenderu, Karura, Kahuho and Kwamaiko Shops. After this assignment she was attached to one of Farm Shop at Kiganjo as a shop assistant where she took care of the shop management on a daily basis.

Later on she joined Farm Shop office as a farmer finance officer in a project called Farmer Finance.  The project was mainly dealing with different challenges that the farmers are facing as they conduct their farming businesses and finding practical solutions. “ My main achievements for the program were getting financing for the groups from Juhudi Kilimo to be able to expand their businesses”  Other benefits from the program were getting participating farmers to get products at promotional prices, and advisory services on new technologies and Market linkages.

Rosemary took a break for maternity leave and her contract expired while on leave, so after her break she took up a position as a shop assistant at Ngecha Farm Shop. This was not her expectation as she wanted to move on further but she took the challenge, this time determined to own her own business in future. She talked to Farm Shop about this idea and they encouraged her as they are the right people at Farm Shop to support and help her progress.

Towards this step she started saving money and talking to her parents as well as close friends who encouraged her. She started taking keen interest in the product profiles especially Agronomy products to understand better the uses and also the pricing issues and reading through notes on business skills. She has also been trained by Farm Shop on Business skills and record keeping.

Rosemary in her Farm Shop at NgechaRosemary in her Farm Shop at Ngecha
Rosemary in her Farm Shop at Ngecha

Rosemary is the newest in the list of Farm Shop’s Franchisees. “Farm Shop has been a pathway to my success, where I am now and where am heading to because I have gained a lot of confidence in my veterinary work, how to practice farming as a business, customer care relations. My dream is to become a successful lady and be a model to the youths; my desire is to walk with Farm Shop to greater heights”

 

This profile has been written by Naomi Mungai. Please contact me at naomi.mungai@farmshop.co.ke. If you have any question about becoming a franchisee at Farm Shop.


Grace Mweru’s Farm Shop launch at Murera, Kenya

Amber Strong
August 7, 2015
Comments Off on Grace Mweru’s Farm Shop launch at Murera, Kenya

Myself and three other fellows are currently volunteering at the Farm Shop Trust’s headquarters in Kiambu County, Nairobi, Kenya for six weeks from mid July to late August 2015.

Launch day for the new Farm Shop
Launch day for the new Farm Shop

Working on behalf of Plymouth University and Duchy College (UK) on a project involving Comic Relief, our team consists of myself, Amber Strong (Business and Entrepreneurship) as a representative of Plymouth University’s Futures Entrepreneurship Centre, Liam Moore (IT) student at Plymouth University, Claire Reigate (Technical Specialist in Animal Health), from Duchy College, and Morwenna Roberts (Horticulture and  International Development) a student from Duchy College. Our aims are to support the Farm Shop Trust in creating the framework for a shop- assistant training programme and assisting in infrastructure development. This is due to the Farm Shop Trust’s rapid expansion that will continue to take place over the next year.

Seeds and other agricultural products are available in a Farm Shop
Seeds and other agricultural products available in Farm Shops

On my second day since in Kenya I had the opportunity to visit Grace Mweru, the owner of an Agri-shop (an agricultural supplies store) who was then in the process of becoming a Farm Shop Franchisee. Agri-shops’ sell a variety of products that a farmer might need; including seeds, fertilisers, animal feeds, feed supplements and veterinary medicines.  Agricultural supply stores are a common sight in Nairobi but some are often poorly stocked and the staff may not have the knowledge to correctly advise the farmer of the correct product to suit their needs or explain how the product must be used to be most effective. The Farm Shop Trust aims for all agricultural shops that become ‘Farm Shops’ under their franchisee-ship to be well stocked to suit the needs of farmers and must be staffed with helpful and well qualified staff that will enable Kenyan farmers to make the most efficient use of the correct products.

Grace's new shop before  Farm Shop branding, two weeks before the shop launch
Grace’s new shop before Farm Shop branding, two weeks before the shop launch

Until a month ago, Grace had an Agri-shop in the town of Githurai for over a year. Her shop was next to a busy Farm Shop and this inspired her to move her shop to a location nearer to her home and become a Farm Shop franchisee. Grace talked with current Franchisees before requesting to become a Franchisee herself. On Wednesday 5th of August she launched here new shop in Murera, Kiambu County, Nairobi, Kenya as a Farm Shop Franchisee. Her husband is a well-known Vet in the Murera area and treats the cows of many of the local diary farmers that I talked to that afternoon.

Graces's young daughter standing inside the unfinished shop
Graces’s young daughter standing inside the unfinished shop

When I visited Grace at the site of her new shop that had just been built, the walls were unpainted and the shelves for the shop were still being built. Now, on the 5th of August, the morning of Grace’s new shop launch; her shop is fully painted, well stocked, brightly labelled and bustling. Across the road from the shop, Farm Shop Trust staff had set up a gazebo for local farmers and a DJ had arrived.

Grace standing in her new shop with Farm Shop Trust staff
Grace standing in her new shop with Farm Shop Trust staff

At around 11am, Farm Shop Trust Extension Officers (in agronomy and livestock health) start off the launch event to an audience of around twenty-five farmers with a prayer and the drawing of the first raffle prize ticket. There are introductions regarding staff specialisms, talks on disease prevention by certain pests such as white fly, and how best to treat common livestock infections such as mastitis in dairy cows.

The four hour event was broken up by jokes by DJ John, raffled price draws of agricultural products stocked at the new Farm Shop and finally a banana eating competition. As I helped Farm Shop staff pack down the launch event banners, farmers flooded Grace’s shop to buy various products they had learnt about that day.

Grace's Farm Shop on the day of the launch
Grace’s well stocked Farm Shop on the day of the launch

The Farm Shop Trust provides a lot for their Franchisees; helping them to develop loyal customer bases.

The Farm Shop Trust provides new franchisees with:

  • a free shop launch event when the new shop opens
  • a free farmers outreach event 10 days after the launch to develop a local customer base
  • further free agricultural demonstration days for farmers based from the shop itself.

The Farm Shop Trust also provides free training for franchisees and shop assistants in accounting, customer service, product knowledge and business management.

Farmers listening to recommendations by a certified provider of vaccinated chicks
Farmers listening to recommendations by a certified provider of vaccinated chicks

As part of becoming a Franchisee, the Farm Shop Trust pay on average around 5,000 Kenyan Shillings for the outside of the shop to be painted in Farm Shop colours and branding. Branding the shop links the shop to the Farm Shop Trust’s developing reputation for:

  • high quality products
  • extensive product range
  • clean stores
  • well informed and helpful franchisees and shop assistants.

It takes around 300,000 Kenyan Shillings to fully stock an agricultural shop like Grace has done and the Farm Shop Trust often link potential Franchisees to micro-finance institutions.

Moses standing in the new Farm Shop
Moses standing in the new Farm Shop

After the event, I chatted to Grace’s shop assistant, 20 year old Moses; who is waiting to hear the results of his exams for his Certificate in Agriculture. He has already started studying for his Diploma in Agriculture, a two year course.  Like many Farm Shop shop assistants, his parents are farmers and this sparked his interest in agriculture.

Livestock feeds sold at Farm Shops
Livestock feeds sold at Farm Shops

For Grace and her shop, her husbands’ reputation as a reliable vet in the local area, Grace’s past experiences as a shop owner, the importance she places on having a very well stocked shop as well as the Farm Shop Trust’s assistance with training, branding and marketing all bode well for the success of her new shop. I wish her the very best of success.

Amber Strong -Network Advisor in Entrepreneurship
Amber Strong -Network Advisor in Entrepreneurship

If you have any questions or would like to know more about the Plymouth University’s Futures Entrepreneurship Centre or my work with the Farm Shop Trust please feel free to contact me at: amber.strong@plymouth.ac.uk