Allan Babiha grows flower seedlings. He started his business with only sh20,000 that he used to buy 20 seedlings. He now boasts over 5,000 seedlings at his nursery bed, which is located on Prince Charles Drive near the Lugogo Bypass. But how does he market his seedlings?
“Having something to offer the public is one thing and getting market for it is another,” Babiha says. He explains that location is key.
Branding is also important if one is to attract good market for their produce. This is because the cover is what gives the first impression of the product itself. It either sinks in or repels the potential buyer.
Babiha says he designs his artistic pots in a unique way different. Thereafter, he plants seedling flowers in them. He says that this is the best way to attract buyers.
“I paint the pots with colours to so that they can look attractive to my customers.”
He also says being strategic matters because many of them can easily view the product or items on sale.
The location of your farm or sell-off point is important too. Markets that are easily accessible obviously attract the largest number of customers.
Master your customers
He says keeping records of your customers who buy the items from the site is fundamental and knowing customers, their needs and their phone contacts is also important.
Babiha says his customers are mostly women, foreigners and a few African men.
Key issues to consider
What is my market? Patrick Iga, aprominent farmer based in Luwero, advises farmers never to produce items that they cannot consume themselves.
“The market starts from your house to the neighbour, before spreading,” he says.
He explains that as long as the product is good for you to consume, your neighbour will consume it and the people in the village will like it too. This network will then help spread the product further.
Silas Kamanyiro, who produces grapes and wine in Mbarara, says if a person is producing ‘exotic’ products like grapes and wine, you need to visit supermarkets and talk to people who you think can consume it.
“I have grown my market by talking to friends about my product at functions and visiting supermarkets around Mbarara,” he says. Because the quality of the product is good, every person who buys it tells another about it.
Visit local markets
“When I produced my first batch of tomatoes, I visited Kalerwe market and talked to the tomato dealers there,” says Henry Kayiira, who grows tomatoes in Kapeeka.
Other markets include Wandegeya, Nakasero, Nakawa, Nateete, all in Kampala. Every upcountry town has also got a big common market.
He says although the prices they offered were not high, the advice and experience that he got from the traders was valueless.
“They bought my tomatoes, but again it is through them that I got the lucrative Sudanese market,” he says.
It is also good to advertise in the media, for example, Harvest Money. “Whenever I have surplus production of chicks, I advertise in Harvest Money,” says Florence Kaweesa, a poultry farmer.
The media adverts expose the farmer to a much wider audience from all over the world. But the bottom line is, be trustworthy, produce quality and have the right quantities when customers come.