Eric de Jong: Dutch National Who Found Success In Silage And Farm Machinery Business In Kenya

Eric de Jong PHOTO/Courtesy

Eric de Jong is the Managing Director of Agri Assist, an Eldoret-based company majoring in the supply of dairy farm equipments.

Jong first visited Kenya in 2014 while working as an intern for a Dutch organization dubbed, Netherlands Development Organization.

But how did he end up establishing his company in Kenya? Here is his story as told by WoK.

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Relationship with Kenyan farmers

Jong explained that he started interacting with Kenyan farmers while working for Netherlands Development Organization.

In an interview Utmost Precision, the businessman explained that he was tasked with doing records of dairy farms.

“That’s how I was acquainted with dairy farmers especially in Eldoret but also Central, Meru up to Nakuru,” Jong said.

While working with the Dutch organization, Jong had a one and a half years contract and as such, he looked for something that would keep him in Kenya.

Importing farm machineries

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During his time in Kenya, he had noticed how expensive farm machineries were and he decided to import some to boost its availability.

He imported two containers with farm machineries which he sold and bought more, making him a reputable machinery supplier.

“I analyzed the machinery prices in Europe and in Kenya, I did a quick mathematics and decided to give it a try

“I imported two containers with farm machines, although it took time before I sold them, the farmers eventually knew me and that’s how it built,” Jong said.

Dairy machineries

After building his customer base, Jong slowly ventured into the dairy industry and started importing dairy farm equipments.

The equipments included milking equipments and cooling tanks.

“Many people asked for it because they needed quality. It never took up as well as the machines but we are still serving customers on dairy equipments,” Jong said.

By the time Jong was venturing into the dairy industry, he has set up a company and it got to a point where he was not making sales.

During events such as the 2017 General Elections, he was forced to get loans to pay salaries and keep the company running.

“I realized that a machine is an investment for a farmer and when the economy goes a bit down people are not investing,” he said.

Jong started doing silage processing, and he set up a shop in a bid to get a source of regular income to keep his company afloat.

“That created a regular income for the company which is important because paying 22 salaries every month you need regular income,” he said.


Jong noted that while he was setting up the business, he was expecting that he will do it the same way it’s done in Europe.

He also explained how brokers came between him and the government while he was starting the business.

“Everything is different, from the culture of the customer, selling a machine would not take one meeting but four meetings, up to the procedures of the government

“They were not clear to me but I later realized tha tit was in the interest of some brokers that they are not clear to me so that they’d make business out of me starting a business,” Jong said.

He also noted that he faces challenges in logistics.

“Kenya is improving in logistics but it’s also very necessary. Say bringing a container from Mombasa is a day for a truck, but in Europe that’s half a day,” he added.

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