19/08/2013

Mushrooms for All (PII): Reaching the Market


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By Graham Thompson, Kigali Farms Summer 2013 Fellow

Its Graham, back with another update on the Grow It Yourself Kit project. 

Since our initial Grow-It-Yourself (GIY) Kit launch, we have come up with a marketing strategy and explored further sales channels. From our initial low volume of sales, we learned that the inherent value of this product was not obvious to customers; we would need explain to customers the benefits of purchasing a GIY kit. From our time at the market, we learned that the top three selling points for the GIY kits are: 1) The nutritional content of mushrooms; 2) The economic value of the kit; and 3) The ease of growing mushrooms with the GIY kit. We have three cartoons that explain these selling points and find customers responsive to these messages.

As our market storefront is temporarily closed, we have been selling the GIY kits through a local entrepreneur
and in two villages in Rwamagana. While Kigali Farms does not have a stand at EXPO, a local trade show, we have a woman selling our products there. She has been selling a steady number of kits and even sold 12 GIY kits in one day! Two design teams of Rwandan villagers from two villages in Rwamagana have ordered 10 GIY kits each as part of their initiative to generate income in their local community. These purchases are particularly exciting for me because of the potential for Kigali Farms to actualize its social mission by enabling Rwandans access to affordable and nutritious food.

On the design front, we are still improving our product. Sam, the Kigali Farm's agronomist leading this project, found a much cheaper bag to house the kit. We are pursuing the option of printing Kigali Farm's logo directly on the bag. We are excited about this find because lower costs will enable us to more sustainably and effectively sell and market the GIY kits. 

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