The Kenyan exporter
Goshen Farm Exporters Ltd was established in March 2010. The company packages and exports Kenyan fruits and vegetables, especially French beans, mangoes and avocadoes. The fruits and vegetables are directly sourced from smallholder farmers and Goshen Farm also grows fruits and vegetables themselves. The produce is then processed in the company’s production unit where it is sorted and packaged after which it is exported to the European Union and the Middle East. The company is well positioned between the farmers who produce the products and the consumers of the products.
Goshen Farm exports products in fresh form and it adds value by sorting and packaging the products according to different preferences of each client. The company’s market size is highly seasonal and varies with global trends. Average demand during peak season goes to 14 tons weekly while during off peak it reduces to 3 tons. The company expands or reduces its size depending on the season.
The founder and owner is Mary Muli who is 48 years old. She has a degree in Business Administration. Previously she worked as an Administration Manager of an NGO that provided water to communities in Western Kenya. Before that she was a mango and orange farmer. At that time she faced that during high season a lot of the produce goes to waste because there is too much supply for the market. That is why she started Goshen Farm Exporters, to help link farmers from her local community in Lower Eastern Kenya to the markets. The successor is Alex Muli (28 years old), which is the son of Mary, who is a Global Executive Master of Business Administration Student at United States International University in Kenya. He is currently the company’s operations director.
At the moment, Goshen Farm sources from 2 groups of cooperatives (for the avocados and mangoes) and from 91 individual farmers (for the French beans). The cooperatives were formed on initiative of the company through bringing the farmers together. Of the total 473 farmers involved, 17.5% are women. Besides, approximately 100 seasonal workers are hired by the company in harvest seasons. The farmers have signed contractual agreements with Goshen Farm which allow farmers to be paid the market price and offered a minimum price when the market is low. Advance loans are given to farmers who want to upscale their production. Having overcome challenges of seasonality and perishability, the organization wants to bring on board more small scale farmers. This will create more sustainable sources of income for the rural poor. Besides an income, the farmers are provided with inputs, such as seeds and pesticides, and technical support.
There is still a big opportunity in extra value addition for Goshen Farm. The company would like to venture into the processing of fruits and vegetables to not only elongate product shelf life but also to ensure that losses are minimized when there is overproduction. Therefore Goshen Farms wants to can French beans and dry and pulp mangoes during peak season (when there is an oversupply). There is especially a market opportunity for processed foods for the growing middle class in eastern Africa. They increasingly undertake their shopping in big malls. The company also sees opportunities for the markets in Europe (mainly France and the UK) and the Middle East (mainly Dublin).
Goshen Farm has several crucial certifications. It has a valid trading export license issued by Horticultural Crops Directorate. Besides, the company’s French beans production sites are Global Gap certified. The company also has various country licenses: a food handling certificate, an employee medical certificate and a business permit. Goshen Farm is working on certifying the production units to ensure that they meet international market needs. In the future, the organization wants to obtain a fair trade certification.
Together with Truvalu.enterprises, Goshen Farm will improve its management structures, policies, procedures, sales and marketing and record keeping and documentation. Goshen Farm needs an investment to upscale operations and markets. The investment is needed for better processing equipment (such as packaging machinery and a quality control laboratory.