Franchise model allows farmers access and own livestock shops

A livestock franchise model is assisting farmers who are far from agrovet dealers access timely and quality services from unique one stop shops at a minimum fee which have assisted farmers contain some of the most deadly livestock diseases like the East Coast Fever which has been responsible for over one million cattle deaths annually in East, Central and Southern Africa.

 Founded in 2011, Sidai Africa is a livestock service and product provision company. Its slogan Tunza mifugo yako depicts a farmers' company whose main aim is to provide quality services and products. For the founder Dr. Christie Peacock, this decision was informed by the fact that for a long time farmers especially small scale farmers in underserved areas received poor quality services and products for their livestock needs.

Sidai offers its franchise members support on quality vaccines and business model management training that assists the livestock farmers have a sustainable business enterprise. A franchise is the practice of using another person’s successful business model to run your own under a similar name or brand after being granted the rights to do so by the parent company or the owner of that brand. Sidai first identifies agrovets especially those in far flung areas and at least 100km radius from each other so that each franchisee has a good radius to serve. These are the areas the company feels are underserved. However even those in towns get the benefits since the ultimate beneficiaries are the livestock farmers.

It also offers credit support through a partnership with Equity bank in which agrovets can get loans. Interested agrovets draw a business plan. Then the loan applications go through thorough checks by Sidai where they determine the credit worthiness of the agrovet and the owners must also have collateral. No specific period informs this decision but how credible and solid the business is, is a critical benchmark. The loan repayment is at 10 percent per year on reducing balance.

By being a franchisee, Sidai partners with these agrovets and makes them a one stop shop for everything about livestock farmers. Dr. Kellen Asena, Sidai extension services veterinarian in Eldoret said. “Sidai sources for quality products from reputable brands on behalf of our franchisees, organizes farmer trainings in conjunction with our franchisees to empower farmers with knowledge and necessary skills to be able to propagate preventive medicine.”

Monica Bartonjo, runs Sidai Berur Agrovet in Eldama Ravine and has no regrets since being a franchisee from early December 2012. “Sidai has enabled me provide quality services to livestock farmers. Through quality feeds, drugs and credit facilities, farmers are happier,” she asserted. To qualify as a franchisee, one must be a technically competent individual, running an agrovet in selected towns and offering extension services to farmers around their location. They should also be individuals who share the Sidai concept of quality for farmers above everything.

Currently the company has franchises in Eastern: Meru, Kibirichia, Ntugi; North Rift: Olenguruoni, Kabarnet, Ravine; South Rift: Ntulele, Sotik; and North East Masalani, Habasweni and Gither among others. Dr. Asena stated “we are choosing the ones that are mostly off road.” In total, Sidai has 35 franchises across the country and aims to reach 150 by end of 2015.

Sidai also works with other stakeholders in the industry to avail any new technologies to farmers. Accoding toDr. Asena, the company is distributing and administering the lately founded East Coast Fever (ECF) vaccination. ECF kills 1.1 million cattle annually in East, Central and Southern Africa. East Coast fever (ECF) is a tick-borne diseas that affects cattle and is transmitted by a parasite which remain on the ground and lives in ticks which have dropped from infected cattle during the preceding stage of the life cycle. This makes it possible to infect more cattle during the vector’s life cycle.

An agrovet or livestock farmer wishing to be a franchisee can access their website and download a form which they then submit. The form contains critical information about the farmer including what type of livestock the farmer has, the number of years he or she has been practicing, the average money they make through livestock farming and also share their problems and solutions they feel would assist them achieve their objectives.

Should the owner fail to live up to the agreement, then the products are repossessed. Monica adds that “I have a livestock farmer who has 70 cows. Before meeting Sidai, I used to treat his cattle every one or two days for East Coast Fever. However since I vaccinated them in December  2012, I have never gone back to vaccinate or even treat them for that deadly disease unless it is pneumonia or other diseases which is also not frequent. The result is that farmers are benefitting.”

More information on the Sidai franchise can be accessed from www.sidai.com or contact Dr. Kellen Asena on 0720872397 for any further inquiries