About

The Student Multidisciplinary Applied Research Teams, also known as the SMART Program, brings together teams of students and faculty at Cornell University from diverse disciplines and pairs them with firms, organizations, or community groups located in developing countries. The teams work on well-defined assignments that challenge students to apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom in real world settings.

This year we are taking two teams of 4 students each to Machakos, Kenya to consult with a seed producer and an agro-dealer.

DSL Project Description and Goals

The Dryland Seed Limited (DSL) is a seed company specializing in African crops for low and medium altitude Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL). The types of seeds sold include maize, beans, sorghum, cowpeas, pigeon peas, and green grams. DSL has partnered with the Kenya Agriculture Research Center (KARI) through a licensing agreement to attain seed varieties that have been developed for dry land areas. This private/public relationship allows KARI to distribute new seeds to the market without having to participate in the marketing process. For exclusive and non-exclusive rights, DSL pays royalties to KARI on an annual basis.

dryland-260x188DSL Seeds are sold through the DSL retail store in Machakos, to eight major agro distributors, and to 57 agro-dealers in Kenya. Local retail sales account for 20 percent of total sales, sales to distributors and agro-dealers account for 50 percent and sales to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) account for 30 percent.  DSL leases a 400 metric ton warehouse on the outskirts of Machakos to store, process and package seeds and storage space at the Machakos Show grounds. In response to the expansion of the business and growth in staff members the company has leased a building at the Machakos showground’s to house its new administration offices. DSL is currently in the process of building a warehouse and administration buildings for the business. The company employs twenty full time people and during peak production periods, and may employ up to thirty part time casual employees.  DSL seeds has expanded seed sales from 21 metric tons in 2007 to 1,000 metric tons in 2012.  More information is available on company website: http://drylandseed.com/

Dryland Seeds seeks to grow rapidly in the next few years but faces two major challenges: (1) Competition in the Kenyan seed sector has increased rapidly over the last decade (2) The company needs an aggressive marketing plan that increases value to smallholder farmers.  The purpose of the SMART trip is threefold.

  1. Document and publish the case study of Dryland Seeds Ltd.  as an SME in an emerging economy.
  2. Develop a marketing plan to help the company penetrate current and new markets to increase their sales volumes.
  3. Conduct a strategic analysis of the company’s growth strategy.

MEL Project Description and Goals

Makamithi Enterprises Ltd (MEL)  is owned by Mr. Gideon Mangu, a retired Banker and Jenifer Mangu, an Accountant. The company supplies agricultural inputs to smallholder farmers. They mainly deal with  Agrochemicals, Fertilizers, Animal Feeds, Animal Health products, Maize and Vegetable Seeds, Day Old Chicks, Tools and Implements.  These products are sold at both wholesale and retail levels. MEL has been appointed by major companies in the agricultural sector to distribute their products in Eastern Kenya.  The company seeks to provide an environment where the farmer’s benefit the most and are provided with quality products and service. They have two branches in Machakos town and are planning to open a third one at Emali on Mombasa road, which will facilitate their distribution in other counties neighboring Machakos County.  MEL has enjoyMakamithi-243x183ed significant growth over the past decade building on making timely deliveries to their primary customers i.e., smallholder farmers.   Their vision is to be the leading supplier of quality farm products and become the farmer’s choice suppliers. For more information please visit their website at: http://www.makamithi.net/index.html

Makamithi Enterprises Ltd is exploring opportunities to increase sales volumes in current markets as well as explore new markets.  The purpose of the SMART trip is threefold.

  1. Document and publish the case study of Makamithi Enterprises Ltd as an SME in an emerging economy.
  2. Develop a marketing plan to help the company penetrate current and new markets to increase their sales volumes.
  3. Conduct a strategic analysis of the company’s growth strategy.

 

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