e-GRANARY Limited (EGL) was established in 2016 by the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation, an apex organization of all farmers in Eastern Africa, and sources, sorts and sells maize and soybean crops in Kenya. EGL sources from smallholder farmers and operates a mobile and web-based platform through which they address smallholder farmers’ challenges of market access, affordable financial services, access to quality inputs and market oriented agricultural extension services. To grow their business and fulfil the maize and soybean crop needs of the region, EGL intends to grow their model and expand its current active farmer base of 790 to around 28,000 farmers by 2024. Annual sourcing volumes are expected to grow to 67,000 MT of maize and 16,000 MT of soybean by year 2024.
By offering a comprehensive bundle of services (including training, inputs, mechanization, access to credit and insurance, access to markets and post-harvest services) EGL is able to double annual production per farmer, thereby significantly boosting household incomes within 5 crop seasons.
This report analyses EGL’s strategy and business model; the financial performance of both company and farmers; and identifies opportunities in overcoming barriers to scale and mitigating business and farmer-level risks. The main recommendations to improve the business model and reach intended scale are for EGL to:
- Provide spot payments for produce to farmers: One way to significantly increase the loyalty of farmers is for EGL to make spot payment to farmers upon procuring the crop produce, particularly for maize. Commissions from aggregating the output is the largest revenue component for EGL. Hence, making spot payment to farmers significantly increases revenue and profitability of EGL.
- Acquire the working capital needed for spot payments: Given that the working capital required for providing spot payments is a small fraction of trade value, banks could likely grant short-term working capital loan to EGL. The estimated interest cost for working capital is small compared to the additional commissions earned by EGL due to the high volumes linked to higher loyalty rates, makes it attractive for EGL to pursue this option.
- Optimize central warehouse operations: EGL may consider storing a small proportion (10% or 20%) of their total output to provide a strategic buffer against price fluctuations. Storage of larger quantities might increase the cost and complexity of logistics plus exposing EGL to adverse market price risks.