A profile in success: Jacky Goliath and DeFynne Nursery
In 2001, a young horticulturalist name Jacqueline "Jacky" Goliath participated in the inaugural Making Markets Matter program. Fast forward 13 years, and Jacky is the co-owner and Managing Director of De Fynne Nursery, a wholesale nursery located in South Africa's Western Cape that produces indigenous pot plants, fruit trees and other ornamentals for the local horticultural and agricultural industry.
By Jacky's own admission, when she started in 2001 with 1,000 plants in the small back-yard nursery, she never dreamed that it would grow into a 600,000 plant production nursery that employs twenty-five employees. Nor did she see that, in 2012, the nursery would relocate to a large farm and expand its operations to include plums and other fruits, destined for export.
What Jacky did see was a need in the marketplace that matched her training and passion - thirteen years - and much hard work - later, this MMM alumna is the proud owner of a vibrant company with an exciting future.
A profile in success: Maria Odido and Bee Natural of Uganda
Based in Kampala, Uganda, Bee Natural Uganda, Ltd. (BNU) was opened in 2007 by Maria Odido, who saw an a market opportunity for Ugandan honey when she learned that China, one of the world’s largest exporters of honey to Europe, had been barred from that market. Maria thought that the high quality honey traditionally produced in Uganda could fill the gap in the European market left by China’s departure. Since its opening in 2007, Bee Natural Uganda, Ltd. has become the largest producer of quality honey and honey products in Uganda, with an average growth in sales of 20% per year. BNU employs a unique business model, which follows the product all the way from the hives of smallholder farmers trained by BNU to a state of the art processing facility in Arua, Uganda. This system allows the company to monitor the quality of its product at every step of the process. In the highly competitive honey market, this consistency in quality has set BNU above their competition. According to Maria, the success of her company is based on the support, financing, and training she provides to the honey producers BNU buys from. BNU is not only filling a gap in the marketplace but is also helping others expand their business capabilities.
A profile in success: Mahenye Muya and Suba Agro Trading and Engineering Co. Ltd. (SATEC)
Mahenye Muya started SATEC, a family-owned and -operated business, in 1996. The Tanzania-based company started out by selling seeds, fertilizers and other inputs, and after its initial success, it has grown into one of the leading seed and agro-chemicals companies in Tanzania. SATEC's mission is "To become the leading partner in transforming small scale farmers in Tanzania into world-class level". Along with its success, SATEC has also increased its number of employees, from a mere 2 at the start to the current 89 permanent staff and approximately 200-250 seasonal workers. The company supplies over 300 agrodealers across the country and is now producing 2000-3000mt of seeds per year.
Under the outstanding leadership of Mahenye Muya, the company has grown rapidly by finding innovative ways to reach farmers at the village level. The company has also invested in value addition of crops to improve farmer outputs. Its notable achievement include:
- SATEC has designed and implemented an innovative marketing and promotion system for agro-inputs, which has contributed to an increase in farmers' adoption rate of improved inputs from 5% in 2001 to more than 20% in 2013 in SATEC's markets.
- SATEC established its own agro-processing and commodity trading company, FRASAL Intertrade, which is running a highly successful contract farming scheme for small scale sesame seed farmers. The company is looking to duplicate this successful program with sunflowers and sorghum in the near future.
Mr. Muya, the 2014 recipient of the African Agribusiness Entrepreneur of the Year Award
A profile in success: Eunice Mwongera and Hillside Green Growers
Eunice Mwongera is the type of entrepreneur whose faith and values are quietly embodied in every aspect of her successful company, Hillside Green Growers. In her processing plant, located in Nairobi, she employs mostly women, many of whom are single mothers from the informal settlement of Kibera. Mwongera’s approach to entrepreneurship stems from her commitment to making a positive difference into the world. Her efforts have been rewarded with a successful, growing business based on traceability of her products and efficiency in her operations.
Launched in 1998 with a single shipment of mangoes to a client in Dubai, today Hillside has a product line of over twenty items and an annual turnover of US $700,000-$900,000. Recently, the company decided to enter the domestic market as well with their products and has expanded to online marketing in order to reach more consumers. At present, the company employs 25 permanent employees and 150 part-time/seasonal workers, and it also partners with 500-800 rural smallholder farmers to grow peas, avocados and mangoes. Hillside supports farmers’ access to inputs, including certified seeds, and access to finance through a partnership with Equity Bank. The company facilitates training, seminars, and workshops on good agricultural practices and GlobalGAP certification.
A profile in success: Frank Taylor and Wild Fruits of Africa
Frank Taylor started Botswana-based Wild Fruits of Africa in 2007 to produce snacks from the marula fruit. The company’s mission is "to commercialize wild plant products on a sustainable basis while benefiting local communities." The company has established itself in the growing niche market at the intersection of consumer demands for flavorful and nutritious natural foods and environmental sustainability. Currently selling eleven products, Wild Fruits markets its products in the major grocery store chains in Botswana. In addition, the company also targets the tourist market – almost all of its products can be packaged to use in hotel rooms, on safari drives, and on airplanes. In fact, Botswana’s national airline offers Wild Fruits snacks to passengers as a way to promote local foods.
The driving force behind Wild Fruits' success is the vision and dedication of its owner, Frank Taylor, who has lived in Botswana for nearly 50 years. Frank is passionate about helping local communities through market solutions. Wild Fruits have worked with hundreds of local people, primarily women, in the rural areas to harvest fruit for Wild Fruits' products. The company pays cash for the raw materials, and the harvesters in turn use the money to pay for healthcare, school uniforms, and building improvements. "We can really have a big economic impact on these small subsistence farmers," Taylor said. "The more products we can offer, the more people we can employ, the greater the economic impact we can have."