For this consulting assignment, FrieslandCampina marketing manager Carolien Roseboom and her colleague Marlies van der Meulen set off for Ethiopia. As Agripoolers, they joined with the cooperative and got stuck into the marketing. The drafted plan is aiming for the following results:
The Ada'A Dairy Cooperative
The cooperative was established in 1998 and is located in Bishoftu, 45 km from the capital, Addis Ababa. The cooperative processes the milk from its members - small-scale dairy farmers - to create dairy products for commercial clients and consumers on the local market. The company has a factory with a capacity of 15,000 litres per day for the processing and packaging of milk, as well as the production of small volumes of yoghurt, butter, cheese and cream.
Marketing and sales strategy
Agriterra has been supporting Ada'A since 2014. Following an extensive company assessment, a number of aims for a marketing and sales strategy were drawn up. In addition, more efforts shall be invested with regards to the further development of the qualities required within the organisation. This is precisely the reason why Agripoolers Carolien Roseboom and Marlies van der Meulen carried out the consulting assignment in 2015. During their visit, they visited a number of shops and interviewed the various people involved, including directors, managers and consumers.
This information was incorporated into a workshop, which they then led for the management and employees at Ada'A. The marketing experts formulated a range of recommendations: They suggested amending the purchasing and sales prices, and presenting the products in more attractive and distinctive way in store.
They also provided specific advice on the sale of milk via the cooperative's own shops, and on increasing sales via supermarkets and on the important B2B market. Carolien: "The management at Ada'A was mainly preoccupied with the dairy farmer members and the cooperative aspect, but they actually weren't paying much attention to the sales side of things or what the consumer really wants". Partly based on the Agripoolers' recommendation, the cooperative has employed a marketing manager. The team of Agriterra local business consultants remain in contact with Ada'A.
The Agripool experts observed that the supply of fresh milk was going to become an issue. If sales volumes are soon to increase, a reliable and stable supply of milk is going to become even more vital. From previous experience, the management is aware that member commitment - and thus a constant supply - is a point of concern. This particular challenge is great subject matter for a potential follow-up consulting assignment: Dutch dairy cooperatives have plenty of experience when it comes to establishing an organisational structure for the supply of members' milk and increasing member commitment.
Added value for Agripoolers
The consulting assignment was also incredibly beneficial for Carolien and Marlies. Marlies: "It was an enriching experience. You come into contact with a culture that is totally new and that faces different challenges."
Carolien: "We really got to the heart of it. In the Netherlands, the marketing sector is already incredibly well-developed. But in Ethiopia, I went right back to the question: how can I get my product to the people? Then you really notice the urgent need for good marketing. If nothing happens, they'll go bust."