Married for the last 25 years, James and Phyllis Maina consider Phyma Fresh Produce a labour of love. Having christened their business ‘Phyma’ (Phyllis and Maina) as a joint namesake, the entrepreneurial duo is passionate about what they do and are deeply involved in the operations of the business, founded in 2003 in Kenya.
In February 2015, Phyllis was in Berlin Germany for the 2015 Fruit Logistica, pursuing a concerted expansion strategy for Phyma. During the course of the international trade fair, Phyllis succeeded in winning orders from large European clients, creating expansion opportunities for their homegrown business.
With over 12 years of experience in the horticultural industry, James and Phyllis were confident of taking Phyma to the next level. Impressed with the couple’s dedication and convinced of the viability of Phyma’s expansion opportunities, GroFin stepped in with a loan of USD 163k over 6 years.
“We needed a business partner and not just a financier. GroFin understood our needs and provided strategic, operational and marketing support for our expansion,” says James.
With its wide access to partners and business networks, GroFin is supporting Phyma as it diversifies into Asian and Middle Eastern markets. The client has identified a number of potential clients in line with GroFin’s recommendation to diversify its client base and manage the market concentration risk.
“We have advised the client to consider value addition in farm produce as part of the medium to long term business strategy, as opposed to simply exporting fresh unprocessed produce,” says Ronald Musundi, Investment Manager at GroFin Kenya.
Investing in Phyma has given GroFin the opportunity to support the labour-intensive agri-business sector. Phyma provides a livelihood to over 50 casual employees, 11 permanent staff, 200+ small scale farmers and their direct dependants. With the expansion, over 9 permanent jobs and several casual jobs will be created and more than 15 contracted farmers will be brought on board, empowering them economically and socially.