News and knowhow for farmers

Marketing wizard triples goat sales on WhatsApp, YouTube.

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For Kenya’s 4.5 million agriculture businesses, marketing is often the difference between wealth and poverty. Charles Macharia was firmly in the latter when he began keeping dairy goats.

Few people had ever heard of them as a viable agribusiness. Using the power of social media he has delivered a booming business.

In 2015 Macharia was lucky to sell three goats a week before harnessing the power of WhatsApp, YouTube, Jiji, and Facebook. Today he easily sells ten of his 200 goats weekly thanks to the many clients interacting with his advertisements online every day.

Before being fired as a truck driver by Brookside Dairy in 2010, he had made one key observation; the rearing of dairy goats for milk was about to make some farmers wealthy.

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However, when he started marketing his goats and dairy goat milk to friends, family, and neighbours they were largely apprehensive about taking it up. Keeping dairy goats had not been embraced as a viable and lucrative agribusiness option by many people at the time.

“I created a Facebook and YouTube page in 2010 where I would train farmers on the benefits of goat farming in that they are less intensive and cheaper to rear. I would also point them to milk markets which were lucrative but grossly undersupplied with a liter of milk selling for up to Sh350 at the time,” said Macharia.  

Though he paid Sh3,500 to YouTube to advertise his channel he said he didn’t see any marked increase in viewers and counseled anyone looking to use the platform for agricultural advertisement to reach viewers organically. 

“The key is to ensure that what you are looking to tell farmers or consumers about is presently relevant, useful, and does the job it promises. Then they will keep coming back even to videos you might have made years past,” he said.

From there he made lifelong friends and customers to whom he still supplies goats and goat milk today. About fifty per cent of inquiries he gets every 

In 2016 he formed the now 680-member FeedMaxt Kenya WhatsApp group which hosts dairy goat and cow farmers. Here, he posts daily to advertise any dairy goats he is selling. 

“I’d say for farmers, WhatsApp is a godsent app for marketing. I meet and talk to scores of possible dairy goat farmers or dairy goat milk users every day. Once I have their number stored on my phone and backed up to my G-Mail account my statuses with goats and milk I’m looking to sell or buy begin appearing on their phones. I sometimes get calls from acquaintances who would never have considered venturing into goat farming quizzing me about it,” Macharia explained.

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Another platform he uses to sell his goats is the African online marketplace Jiji. He pays Sh7,500 to have his advert on the site every month. Even though it has not been as successful as WhatsApp which is free in converting inquiries into successful sales he has found it to be good value for money as it “keeps his name out there” meaning people know who to reach when sourcing for dairy goats  

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