Breaking into the export market
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CTA. 2002. Breaking into the export market. Rural Radio Resource Pack 02/2. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57411
A honey exporter from Zambia explains the ?secrets? for successful marketing: quality, quantity, and reliability. These rules, he says, apply to all kinds of marketing whether for domestic or export markets. He also stresses the importance of having a good relationship with his buyers.
Breaking into the export market CUE: Selling your produce in domestic markets is one thing, but selling it to overseas markets is surely much more difficult. However, many of the basic rules for successful export marketing are the same, as Chris Kakunta found out when he spoke to Daniel Ball, a Zambian farmer who now runs a business selling honey to Europe and North America. Daniel began his honey business buying honey from local bee-keepers, processing it, and then selling it to the domestic market in Zambia. This was a successful venture, and he learned many lessons about good marketing. However, he believed that he could make more money by exporting, if only he could find a way of breaking into the export market. He decided to take a big risk, and bought a large quantity - many tons - of local honey. Now he had something to export; next he needed to find a buyer, and that was where things became difficult. IN: ?It was very difficult because ? OUT: ? and I know their needs.? DUR?N 4?03? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Daniel Ball on the importance of having a good relationship with buyers for successful marketing. Transcript Ball It was very difficult because I bought the honey and I found it difficult to find a market. I should have found the market first and then bought the honey, but I did it the other way, and I learned a valuable lesson. And I had to stay for almost two years without selling that honey, but I managed. And when I sold it, I sold at a loss, but the quality was good, such that the buyers came back to me. So now I am busy trying to make up that loss. But I?m not here for one business day, I?m here for the long term. Kakunta And marketing strategy. Do you think it can play a very important role in production and export of honey? Ball Well in developing a marketing strategy for something like honey or wax, you have three things that you must consider. Quality, quantity and reliability. Those are three factors that are very very important in developing any market, but they are very important when developing an export market. Kakunta Perhaps you can elaborate more? Ball Well the issue of quantity is, you cannot export 10kg of honey, because no one in Europe or North America is interested in 10kg of honey. And to have enough to export honey I would say you need between 16 to 20 tons, minimum. So quantity is very important. Secondly, quality is equally important. On the export market, they require a very high quality honey, which means that you must be very careful with your processing. Let me give you an example, if there is too much smoke; if it arrives in North America, and it smells to much like smoke, they will just pour it into the sea. If there is too much water in the honey, people in Europe or North America they don?t want that. So these are quality issues that you have to pay attention to. and the third issue is reliability; whether you can deliver what you say you have. If you say to someone like myself, I have got 100kg of honey, so in my planning I take that into consideration. Now if they come and that farmer says, ?no I don?t have it?, then it also messes up. So you have to be reliable, in how much you say you can deliver, and you have to be reliable in your quality as well. Kakunta I believe one important factor is the price. How do you manage to sell so that you don?t operate at a loss? Do you for instance have market information on what others are offering in terms of the price for your honey? Ball That?s a good question. And you know I am reminded, today I was in Soweto, I was with some people selling beans. And the market for beans is no different than the market for honey. There is a lot of negotiation even on the export market. But yes we have information, and we have to compete; there are many different types of honey on the market. We have to also push forward and say, ?No try this! Zambian honey is number one! And then also I do know the price on the world market, and so I can use that. Kakunta How do you get the information on the world market, and how do you utilise it? Ball Sometimes I go on the internet, sometimes I read commodity newspapers in which the prices are stated. Kakunta So the information that you are able to get from the market, helps in the planning the way forward for your product? Ball Yes, and I work very closely with my buyers. The people who buy from me, we don?t just meet in the market place, and say ?How much? OK, I?ll buy?. We meet all year round, they talk to me about the issues. ?Dan you have to be careful, there is still too much smoke in your honey?. ?OK, thank you?. So I am in constant contact with my buyers. There is a long term relationship with them, in which they know me they know my needs, and I know them and I know their needs. End of track.