Mumbu the Agrodealer based in Kalamba Village and who is working with KMT
Michael Mumbu is an Agriculturist by profession. He owns a chain of agrovet shops known as Mbaitu Agrovets across Makueni County. He has been running his shop in the community for about 12 years but continuously had a low customer turnout. Apart from selling inputs, Mumbu also provided information and offered goods on credit to his customers but this still didn’t increase the number of customers in his shop.
In December 2012, Mumbu engaged with Kenya Markets Trust (KMT) who introduced him to more commercial ways of conducting business. The first thing that KMT recommended to him was shop remodeling to a structure that will allow customers to move freely, increase interaction and accessibility.
“Quite frankly my shop looked like a cell.” Laughs Mumbu. “ My customers couldn’t even see the shelves. In my mind I was protecting my products from thieves, what I did not know was that I was blocking my products from buyers.”
This remodeling has made his shop similar to local supermarkets in the country and is very popular among his customers. “We are very happy with this new arrangement, we can see all the products and make price comparisons,” says Jane a customer who has purchased from Mbaitu Agrovet since its inception.
The remodeling of the shop was thereafter linked to a model known as “the agent network” where the agrovets are connected to farmers through some trusted individuals. Ten of Mumbu’s Agents have attended KMT supported trainings and are certified. This, coupled by their status in the community (many of them have been farmers for many years) earns them respect among the farmers. Usually, these individuals are offered inputs by Mbaitu agrovets at a discounted price and provide the same to the farmers. They also disseminate key extension information especially in relation to use of inputs and even carry out demonstrations in the farms.
The two new models that Mumbu has implemented in his shop has succeeded in tripling the number of customers to his shop. Currently, the number of customers he has registered is 500; a noted increase from the previous 195 in December 2012. The increase in customers means a major improvement in profits by a 60% margin and this also shows that more smallholder farmers are using inputs and thus could be making more money from their farms.