OLX pulls out all stops to win in Kenya’s agri sector

06 Dec 2016

Since launching in Kenya in 2012, OLX.co.ke has consistently noticed high levels of activity around agricultural products on its platform, and in January this year it finally set up a category Agriculture and Food on the site. 

OLX country manager Peter Ndiang’ui told us in the first three months after the launch of the new category “it overtook other (categories) and became the category with the highest liquidity … Money and farm products were changing hands frequently.”

Peter Ndiang’ui, country manager of OLX Kenya (photo from his LinkedIn page with thanks)

Peter Ndiang’ui, country manager of OLX Kenya (photo from his LinkedIn page with thanks)

Since, OLX has boldly and strategically launched product after product to attract technology-inexperienced farmers – selling cattle, chickens, and fresh farm produce – to the site, and so establish itself as the leading online marketplace for agricultural products in Kenya.

For instance, OLX recently partnered with input companies Mavuno Technology, Osho Chemicals and Soil Cares, to solve one of the biggest challenges facing rural farmers, namely access to quality fertilizers. The partnership will see the companies list high-yielding inputs on OLX. The deal is very juicy for farmers, who can buy Mavuno’s fertilizers at 15 percent below the market price on the site. 

OLX also established so-called Kilimo Smart OLX centers as soil-testing and pick-up points in two towns (Nakuru and Nyandarua) with high agri-traffic, to give farmers easier and faster access to inputs after they’ve placed their orders. 

“Our ultimate aim is to help farmers generate more income by producing higher yields than they are now,” said Ndiang’ui.

In the coming months, several centers will be rolled out in agriculture-intensive areas, in an uncoventional push (for a used-goods site) to build traction and gain a leading share in the agri market – a sector which dominates the Kenyan economy and contributes 24.2 percent of the country’s annual gross domestic product (GDP).

mfarm-logo

mFarm, up against a determined OLX in Kenya

Prior to OLX’s entry, the dominant player in Kenya’s online agriculture market was mFarm.co.ke, a start-up selling agri-market intelligence, and real-time agri prices. It has more than 14,000 users and, according to SimilarWeb, counted just 28,000 visits last month.

OLX has the advantage of its overwhelming brand presence as the leading horizontal in Kenya, and that it has classifieds expertise. Last month, it recorded 1.6 million visits, as measured by SimilarWeb. 

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Adegoke Seun

Adegoke Seun Oyeniyi is a business intelligence and media consultant specialized in helping foreign companies understand or penetrate African markets. He is also an award-winning business writer with Ashoka Scholar and 2016 Media Prize to his credit. He is the AIMGroup West Africa analyst covering major markets like Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana.