Camino Ruiz Agencies Ltd.(2018) are among the first companies in Kenya to control the entire value chain, from production of fingerlings to fish feeds to distribution and finally selling of tilapia fish directly to the consumer. This allows them to have full traceability of the entire value chain and offer fresh tilapia fish from farm to fork.
In 2022, they transitioned from a B2B to a B2C model and signed a contract with the largest supermarket chain in Kenya with close to 100 stores nationwide. They sell tilapia fish under the name Global Tilapia. This B2C strategy allows them to ensure great market stability and higher gross margins. It also reduces their risk due to the perishability of the product, as they can control their planning based on retail demand.
They have introduced different value-added products in the market, including frozen ready-to-eat tilapia fish, frozen fish filet, and fried tilapia fish. These products offer convenience to the end consumer and have significantly increased their market share.
Camino is committed to providing its customers with the highest quality tilapia fish at a competitive price. They are also committed to sustainable aquaculture practices that protect the environment.
Joseph Mureithi is an entrepreneur with a passion for creating impact. He first expressed his desire to make a difference in his academic career, when he switched from pursuing finance to nursing to serve others. After six years in the United States, he returned to Kenya with the goal of transferring his knowledge and skills to his home country.
Joseph’s first businesses were in semi-logistics and manufacturing, but he soon realized that the margins in these industries were low. He then switched to aquaculture, recognizing the great demand for fish in Kenya and the high volumes of low-quality imported fish. This was a “sheer luck” transition, but it allowed Joseph to rediscover his love for community and his desire to make a positive impact.
In aquaculture, Joseph saw an opportunity to create jobs and empower workers in Kenya. In partnership with two colleagues in the manufacturing industry Global Tilapia Husbandry Kenya Limited was born to enable transfer of knowledge and expertise to the aquaculture industry. Today, Camino Ruiz and GTH are expressions of Joseph’s personal desires for impact and empowerment.
People: Camino employs 155 employees (SDG 8) in its facilities (professional kitchen, fileting center and distribution center) as well as in-store sales agents in the supermarkets and support staff in the head office. 61% of the employees are female (SDG 5). In addition, GTH provides employment to 185 workers who are engaged in the production, sorting, cleaning and distribution of the fish.
Camino Ruiz aims to create a greater impact across different income groups. They do this by offering tiered price differentiation across 3 different weights of fish – small, medium and large sizes. This enables low income earners to add the nutritious health benefits and improved dietary choices by offering affordable fish prices to the disadvantaged through large retailers. It also aids in reducing waste of fish products as Camino is able to maintain its quality standards whilst bringing more fish to market (SDG 12).
Planet: Camino Ruiz is committed to operating in a sustainable way that protects the planet. Tilapia is a more environmentally friendly source of protein compared to other options such as beef. Tilapia has a lower feed conversion ratio, meaning that it takes less feed to produce a unit of protein.
With many food sources becoming more at risk due to unpredictable drought patterns and seasonal changes, Camino prides its fish offering to deliver its nutritional benefits by being fresh, locally sourced and delivered as an affordable source of nutrients. This contributes to the substitution of imports and hence reduces the emission of greenhouse gasses.
Camino also developed waste management practices that turn fish waste into a valuable resource. The waste is used as an input for the animal feed industry, which helps to reduce food waste.
Profit: Camino Ruiz is diversifying its product offerings to reach a wider consumer market. They are offering a variety of tilapia products, including ready-to-eat, frozen, fresh, and fried fish. They are also offering different sizes of fish to meet the needs of different customers. This diversification is helping Camino Ruiz to grow its profits.
Camino Ruiz is an example of a company that was prepared to take advantage of a market opportunity. When the government of Kenya introduced reforms that favored domestic initiatives, Camino was the only company that had direct control of the entire tilapia value chain (farm-to-fork). This gave them a significant advantage over their competitors and allowed them to quickly secure contracts with major retailers.
Camino’s well-integrated production and distribution system gives them a unique value proposition. They are able to offer high-quality tilapia fish at low prices, and they can deliver it to consumers’ homes through well-established retailers. This combination of convenience, quality, and price has made Camino a popular choice for consumers in Kenya.
In addition to their focus on convenience and affordability, Camino is also committed to healthy eating and nutritional impact. They believe that tilapia is a healthy and sustainable source of protein, and they are working to educate consumers about the benefits of eating tilapia.
Camino’s story is an inspiration to other entrepreneurs. It shows that with hard work, dedication, and a clear vision, it is possible to succeed in business.
Camino Ruiz plans to continue its rapid growth and independence by investing in its cold chain infrastructure. This will allow them to deliver fresh fish products at an affordable rate to consumers throughout tropical East Africa by 2024.
Camino also plans to diversify its products to meet the demands of Kenyan consumers, who are increasingly looking for choice and convenience. They plan to revitalize their B2B business by selling to private international schools in the region and expanding through the wide networks of established retailers. Camino’s current retail partnerships will give them access to every major city in Kenya. They have also received interest from boutique retailers who specialize in high-end client delivery services and large chain restaurants.
Camino is committed to providing high-quality, affordable, and convenient fish products to consumers in East Africa. Their future plans will help them to achieve this goal and continue to grow their business.
The challenges Camino is faced with are related to:
The solution provided by Truvalu: