Kenyan agri-tech company Twiga Foods fires 130 sales agents


Twiga Group Chief Executive Peter Njonjo. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Agri-tech firm Twiga Foods has fired 130 sales agents in the last one-and-a-half months, citing poor performance amid rising competition in the food delivery business.

Chief executive Peter Njonjo told the Business Daily on Monday the independent sales agents were let go in early May in a plan by the firm to only engage agents whose sales are looking up.

The independent sales representatives were contracted with Twiga last October in a new business plan that saw employees’ contracts with Twiga terminated effective November 2022.

“We had a total of 440 agent territories, of which 50 were inactive. Making a net of 390, of these 130 were performing below expectation and were rationalised,” said Mr Njonjo.

“The 130 left in the last 45 days...from the start of May. They were inactive. We had to part ways with them.”

The independent sales agents model seeks to reward the effort and enterprise based on higher earnings.

This model, Twiga says, has worked with other businesses like insurance and banking that have transitioned fully into independent agents in Kenya.

The firm says active sales agents take home as high as Sh30,000 per week while inactive ones can earn as little as Sh2,000 in commission.

Twiga had told the Business Daily in the past that 117 of its former employees took up its offer to partner with them as sales agents after the company laid off 221 workers as part of a cost-cutting and business transformation strategy last year.

Every impacted employee received one month’s pay notice, termination pay of 15 days for every year worked, and pay for all outstanding leave days.

The company said then that those who will not accept appointments as agents will not be required to work as trade development representatives during the one-month notice period to enable them to seek alternative engagements.

Twiga Foods' plans to do away with non-performing independent agents came amid plans to expand to the West and Central African market in a five-year plan.

The firm had in October 2022 stopped its engagement with expatriates who were offering different services across various departments. The company has raised Sh17 billion in capital since its inception.

The startup launched a new farming subsidiary, Twiga Fresh for farming onions, tomatoes and watermelons.

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