The best way to sell your organic produce

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The organic market in Kenya has been growing steadily. Consumers especially in the major cities of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu have been enquiring on how they can get consistent supplies of organic products. This is an opportunity for organic farmers to sell heir organic produce.

Planning, production and marketing

As an organic farmer, there are easy steps that you can follow to access and maintain organic markets that will guarantee you higher returns than with conventional farming methods. First, you need to ask yourself three key questions, which will help you to plan your production:

  • Which products do I need to produce for the market and for household use?
  • What volume will I be able to produce per season?
  • Can I be able to produce throughout the year?

If you are able to answer the above questions, you will have already started planning for production, which is an important step towards securing a market for your produce. We plan so that we can make good decisions on production. For example, you can decide to produce only one or two crops for marketing while other produce can be used to feed your family. It is better for a farmer to concentrate on producing three to four crops that they can grow well for the market than many crops.

Produce a variety of items

When choosing the produce, you should consider whether the climate is suitable for the crop, if there is a ready market and whether the soils are suitable for its production.

Once you select the crop, you need to go the next step in allocating the land from which you will establish each of the crops. You also need to estimate the production period for each crop, and have a production plan for the whole year. The production plan provides details on when you will set up a seedbed, when you will transplant, when you will start harvesting and the duration for which you will be harvesting each of the crops during the season.

Identifying possible markets

Information on market availability is important in completing the production planning process. This is because it will provide the basis for selecting the crops to be grown, and determining the volume to be produced and the area to be allocated for production.

Importance of market surveys

Although farmers are usually not engaged in conducting formal market surveys to find out this information, there are simple ways that this can be done. These includes attending trade fairs, agricultural shows and farmer field days, listening to farming programmes on radio and TV, visiting markets and talking to traders. Organic products are not available in local markets and are usually in short supply. The information about them can be sourced from specialized organic shops like Kalimoni Greens Organic shop, Bridges Organics and other organic food companies in Nairobi.

Examine trends

Farmers should study organic farmers' markets. The trend for organic products is similar to that of conventional products. This means that once the prices for certain conventional products increase, the organic prices also go up.

KOAN can help you to market

Farmers can also seek information about demand from organizations working with organic markets such as Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN).


Once you have identified that there is a market and have produced and harvested your crop, the next step is to make the sales. There are different ways of selling organic products:

Target your neighbours

The first avenue is selling to neighbours and the local community. This is the immediate market, which many farmers ignore, but it is very important. Many community members in your locality may be willing to buy your organic products at a good price because they know how they are produced and therefore trust the products. You, however, need to let the community know you have produce for sale. This can be done by word of mouth, announcing in public gatherings, putting a sign on the farm or organizing visits to your farm.

Setting up group organic shops and markets

If you are in a group, you can establish an organic shop in your community, which can serve as an organic farmers’ market. This requires your group to be very well -managed and to have a good book-keeping system. To sell through these markets, farmers are required to be certified by a certification body or to have an approved Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) if they are in a group. Selling through a farmers' market provides a farmer with an opportunity to interact directly with consumers, which makes marketing of organic produce a good experience. A farmer also gains skills of how to market their organic produce as well as understanding market requirements in terms of quantity and quality.

Selling directly to organic retail shops and hotels

Another way to sell organic products is to supply directly to formal organic shops, hotels, restaurants and in supermarkets. This requires a farmer to be able to supply consistently throughout the year. If a farmer has access to irrigation water, this will be a good opportunity to sell their products because the volume moved in these markets is high. Currently, the available markets in this category are only in Nairobi where large supermarkets such as Nakumatt and Uchumi have expressed the willingness to buy organic produce but they have not managed to get enough quantities. Hotels such as Dusit D2, Fairmount and Intercontinental have expressed the same need. Since 2007, Bridges Organic Health Restaurant and Kalimoni Greens Organic shop have been purchasing organic products from farmers. They will therefore provide a good market avenue.

Making basket deliveries

Farmers can also start basket delivery scheme where they can deliver produce to the homesteads of their consumers. Home basket deliveries require a wide variety of produce and working out logistics for delivery of produce to the consumers. The variety of products is therefore put in basket, which is delivered to a consumer’s doorstep, office or other agreed pick up point. The products are therefore priced in terms of the whole basket not individual produce.

Selling to schools and hospitals

Farmers can also use other marketing avenues such as schools and hospitals near them. The schools may be private primary schools, secondary schools or universities. To be able to do this, start by taking samples of organic products to these institutions to create an interest from the consumers/ buyers and thereafter participate in their tendering processes. If successful, farmers can organize ways of supplying products from their farms or group.

>>>>> Samuel Ndung'u is the National Market Development Advisor, KOAN. Email: 

You can share your experiences with TOF and fellow farmers; send email to,  leave a comment below this article or SMS to 0715 916 136.


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