Ms. Josephine Ndikwe from Kiguta Coffee Estate, a Kenyan coffee-producing company, joined UK DFID-funded SheTrades in the Commonwealth in February 2019 after learning about the programme through a friend.
Reflecting on Kiguta Coffee’s growth trajectory, Ms. Ndikwe is impressed with how much she has learned in a span of four months. She has learned how to manage a profitable coffee business, lower her cost of production, and deal with climate change – all these through business management and coffee quality trainings delivered by CMS. After those two workshops, Ms. Ndikwe signed up for a coffee marketing and communication skills workshop – a workshop she describes as “major” – and learned how to gain visibility among buyers, pitch to them, design brochures and marketing materials for her brand, and tailor-make communication strategies for buyers in the global market
The series of workshops, though intensive, were instrumental in preparing Kiguta Coffee for its participation in the World of Coffee trade fair in Berlin from 6-8 June 2019 – the company’s first international trade fair.
Ms. Ndikwe described her time at World of Coffee as “eye-opening” for she left the trade fair with not just a potential trade lead with a German coffee roaster, but also with a different perspective of her company’s positionality vis-à-vis buyers: “Now I know that we can engage buyers as businesspeople – not just coffee growers”, she remarked.
Kiguta kept up the momentum after the World of Coffee trade fair and attended a “Preparing for the Export Market” workshop delivered by TFO Canada.
With a more comprehensive understanding of how to craft market-specific export strategies for different markets and what Kiguta needs to do to be able to expand into foreign markets, the company is now exploring the possibility of partnering with other coffee growers in its locality to reach economies of scale and exceed the minimum load unit to ship to foreign markets.
“Now I know we can engage buyers as business people - not just coffee growers.”