Why is the marketing basic training an important tool for cooperatives in Rwanda?

03-02-2022 13:02:14
The complaints of farmers in Rwanda are more often than not related to the market aspects of the value chains. Although cooperatives play a big role in marketing and selling of members production, the question persists: how decent are the cooperative marketing strategies?

Share this article

During the third week of January 2022, Agriterra delivered the marketing basics training to 4 cooperatives in Rwanda: KIABR (in dairy value chain), IABM (in maize value chain), KODUKA (in horticulture value chain) and Huguka Kageyo (potato value chain). The four days training held in Kigali aimed at building skills and capacities of 20 participants involved in the marketing activities within their respective cooperatives, and drafting their own marketing action plan. This was the first marketing basics training in Rwanda and was conducted by trainers Jean Remy Muramira, Justine Mucyo, Christian Kwizera, and Renovat Muhire with the support of Erwin Brouwer.

Throughout different role plays, conducive learning, and expert presentations, participants got to learn the 6 basic steps used to make a market-oriented, custom-made action plans. During the first day participants learned the basic marketing theory, and got to work on their SMART marketing action plans on the second and third days. The individual recap sessions with each cooperative held on the fourth and last day of the training were complimented by the presentation and experience sharing of the marketing expert in coffee value chain in Rwanda.

The moment of realization

The cooperatives were reactive to new insights on marketing. The key learning on the difference between selling and marketing lies on whether the seller knows and understands the needs of the customers. Understanding this difference led participants to realize the lack of strategies in the marketing section of their respective cooperatives, and how important asking questions and inquiring further information lead to deep understanding of the needs and demands, behaviors, and predicted developments of the customers. They learnt about touchpoints – where customers come in contact with the cooperative – and how to impact these promotional means for greater outreach.

The cooperatives also understood how and why they need to prioritize and focus on fewer markets and specific products that have the potential generate more income. Participants learnt how to make this product-market mix, and choose the most attractive product-market combination which is particularly useful for cooperatives with limited financial resources that need to concentrate on fewer markets and serve them better. In this context, it was also important that cooperatives understand why adapting the strengths and weaknesses of the marketing sector within each cooperative to the chosen market (rather than vaguely outlining the marketing SWOT) is the main answer to ‘how can we serve the chosen market better’ question.

The marketing action plans

One of the objectives of the marketing basics training is to have a SMART marketing action plan tailored to the chosen market-product combination of each participating cooperative at the end of the training. Participants grouped in their cooperatives chose the most attractive product-market combination on the basis of

  • which is the most profitable (by focusing more on the volume sold rather than the margin per product);
  • which they judged to have the most chance of success after analyzing the marketing SWOT per cooperative; and
  • Predicted future growth of that market.

From this point, each cooperative developed a  SMART marketing action plans of activities to be undertaken within the next six months, that will focus solely on developing and/or better serving the chosen market.

The action plans were shared with the cooperatives Business Advisors and, together with marketing basics trainers in Rwanda, will make proper follow-up on their implementation. This training left a strong impression and an important package of knowledge to participants cooperatives, most of whom have flourishing processing businesses that need tailor-made marketing strategies.

To make this site work properly, we sometimes place small data files called cookies on your device.