The visit to Bambui market took place on Saturday the 16th April 2016 and was aimed at studying challenges and identifying innovative tools and systems that could help the Ngong beneficiaries to reach larger and more profitable markets. The team also studied current marketing practices in the Bambui market by small businessmen and women who are participants in the Ngong Project.
Reignite’s Project Coordinator Fernando Vidal and Project Manager Teresa de Sousa accompanied by Paul Akaba, Romanus Bicheh and Derick Chunga conducted informal interviews and also had discussions with key actors in the market, some of whom, participants in the Ngong project.
Items on sale in the market included different kinds of fruits and vegetable (cabbages, carrots, green spices, tomatoes, onions, pineapples, watermelons etc.), grains like groundnuts, corn, different kinds of beans and soya beans, and different locally consumed staple foods such as cocoyams, yams, potato, plantain, cassava, garri etc.
They also appraised the different challenges faced by small business owners in the market which included:
- Fruits and vegetables have a short shelf live and therefore easily get spoiled when not completely sold, especially in the harvesting seasons when there is no scarcity which results in much loss.
- Lack of packaging and labelling practices in the market. Packaging and labelling will make the products more presentable and attractive to the buyers, especially more affluent buyers. This lack of packaging and labelling also completely eliminates the possibility of supplying such products to supermarkets in town where they can then be retailed to consumers, thus limiting the possibility of reaching larger and more profitable markets.
- Very high transaction costs involved in buying as individual farmers from different markets for re-selling in the Bambui market.
- Lack of financial inclusion; Most of the small-business owners did not belong to any formal financial institution such as microfinance institution or Credit Union, where they could save or borrow money to increase business capital. This limits their capacity in having access to loans during periods of high demand to increase production which negatively affects profitability and growth. Some, however, belonged to one ROSCA (Rotating Savings and Credit Association commonly called the Njangi) or another. However, given the inflexibility of the ROSCAs, it is very difficult for members to home with the lot when it is not yet their turn.
1) Organizing the market actors into specialized Groups and Associations. Such specialized groups and associations, if through the help of the Ngong Project , can be trained on group management, they could work together and achieve the following benefits;
- Added value and reduction of post-harvest losses during the harvesting season through processing and transformation. Processed tomatoes, for example, would have a long shelf live and would easily be sold when the harvesting season is over and tomatoes have become scarce.
- Packaging and Labelling of products: If organized into specialized marketing groups and market associations, the association can easily be trained on packaging and labelling of products. Such practices will, in addition to giving the association a professional standpoint; will also open up possibilities of reaching larger markets with more affluent and value-conscious customers, thus increasing profitability. Such a practice will also be time-saving.
- Reduction of transaction costs through cheaper transportation, discounts from bulk buying and better negotiation.
2) There is an urgent need for small business owners to have access to financial services. Financial inclusion will enable them to save, and also borrow to increase business capital in times of high demand. It will build the resilience of their livelihoods against various shocks. If already organized into groups and marketing associations, the concept of Village Savings & Loans Associations (VSLAs) can be introduced as an initial financial model. Following the development of the VSLAs, they can then be linked up to more advanced microfinance institutions.
At the end of the visit, the team assured small business owners in the Bambui market about Reignite’s commitment through the Ngong Project to revitalize and professionalize Bambui’s agricultural sector so as to raise incomes and increase food security in the region. They promised to work on the feedback received and to seek innovative ways of enhancing the capacity of farmers and small business owners in meeting up with efficient market practices.
Reignite Action for Development, through the Ngong Project, aims to revitalize and professionalize Bambui’s agricultural sector so as to raise incomes and increase food security in the region. In addition to knowledge transfer on improving productivity through the training of smallholder farmers and specialized groups such as Small Agri-Business Farmers, Market-Oriented Livestock Producers and Food Processors; the Ngong Project is also building the capacity of the beneficiaries on better approaches of reaching larger and more profitable markets.
More Details on the assessment below:
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