A first time entrant in the National Farmers Awards has won a trophy for its outstanding efforts in operating a successfully managed agro-vet business in Muhoroni town, Kisumu county.
Muhoroni Agrofarmers Centre emerged position three in the best Large-scale Agro-input dealers (with more than Sh5 million in investments) category in the competition organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Elgon Kenya Ltd (an agro-chemicals suppliers), among other international partners.
Benard Onyango, a veterinary expert who manages the agrovet, attributes the success of the business to hard work and dedication, product diversification, customer satisfaction and giving credit services regularly to farmers. Onyango says the enterprise thrives best through proper record keeping on sales, purchases, expenses and stock flows.
Besides, they also prepare timely work plans, an annual business plan and monthly reports. “Our customers have trusted us because we are sincere in the services we offer; this is a good gesture for any business to thrive,” says Onyango. The dealer has also gained prominence locally because they offer free agricultural extension services to the farmers on various frequently used products.
The enterprise’s proprietor, Daniel Nyamoko, says they opened in 2005 as a retailer of farm inputs. “Introduction of the agrovet within the epicentre of Muhoroni sugar belt came in handy given the high demand for farm inputs in the region,” says Nyamoko.
With a capital base of about Sh200,000, Nyamoko, picked up the idea and opened the shop. “I realised that farmers had difficulty in accessing farm inputs locally, which became an opportunity for me to get into the venture,” he says. The businessman used the money to purchase assorted agro-chem stocks and register the business. The balance went into paying rent for a few months.
A few years later, the business had fairly stabilised after being dogged with a few challenges at the initial stages. Nyamoko began reaping from the fruit of his sweat, earning up to Sh100,000 from the business every month. By this time the business had attracted a wide network of customers from the region, so he had to employ three workers to help him discharge daily chores effectively.
The retailer is no longer a small shop, but a large-scale dealer and is now one of the leading farm inputs suppliers in Kisumu county. From retailing it has grown into wholesale dealership, getting supplies directly from established agro-companies and distributors at subsided prices.
Muhoroni Agro-farmers Centre supplies animal feeds, fertilisers, seeds, horticultural products, agro-chemicals and animal health products, among inputs required by farmers.
“Each product has a different price depending on the manufacturer or our suppliers,” says Nyamoko. Today, the business is performing well, with an increased monthly income of Sh200,000 or higher.
However, earnings are subject to variation as demand for some of the products is seasonal, especially given changes in weather patterns. “As you can see many customers are trooping in to make orders,” Nyamoko explains with smiles.
The secrets of the business are their efficient services, fast delivery and fair product prices. “This is why we have established a resounding customers trust,” says the entrepreneur. As a result, companies such as Wonder feeds, Elgon Kenya Ltd, Norbook, Unga Feeds and Kenya Seed are some of the accustomed suppliers to the agro-vet. The business employs four people to date.
The main challenges they face include climate change, scarcity of some products and reported cases of obtaining counterfeit goods. “Farmers must ensure they buy certified products from licensed dealers to avoid falling victim of counterfeiting,” advises Nyamoko.
He says winning the award has placed his agrovet business on the national map of champions. It has also given him and his workers motivation to continue working hard, increased customer base and boosted confidence of the business among suppliers. “Many companies now recognise our work.
We also discovered other range of products through the interaction we had with participants in the competition,” he says. The national farmers’ award recognition came after the business had also won a trophy in a recent farmers’ competition in Kisumu county.
His top agenda is further expansion of the business and setting up a factory for production of animal feeds. He urges farmers in Nyanza region to diversify into other practices and not to over-rely on planting sugarcane, as the sugar sector is currently susceptible to poor prices, unpaid dues and climatic change.
Muhoroni sub-county agricultural officer, Arthur Hongo, concurs, saying the agro-dealer won recognition in the competition largely because his business has established clear structures such as business plans and proper record keeping.
“This dealer has engaged a competent veterinary officer, which is one of the necessities in the agricultural sector here,” he says. Hongo says the Muhoroni agrovet will henceforth be a benchmark for other proprietors and farmers, thereby advancing the agribusiness locally.
“The dealer keenly observes the kind of advice we give besides meeting the legal and health standards required for such businesses to operate,” said Hongo.
The agricultural officer urged other dealers to follow the footsteps of the proprietor in order to improve agricultural productivity in the region. “We want our farmers to emulate this dealer so that they can become commercial producers in future,” he added.