Negotiating for Fertilizer
One Acre Fund (OAF) was founded by Andrew Youn in 2005 for the purpose of helping to solve the chronic hunger problem in Africa. The idea is to provide the resources (seed, fertilizer, and education) necessary for African farm families to feed themselves when their land holdings are one acre or less. The business model of OAF is that of a cooperative: OAF buys resources like seeds and fertilizer in bulk at reduced prices and distributes them to small farmers who otherwise could not afford them. This case concerns the negotiation that OAF's manager of external relations and research, Moises Postigo, conducted to buy fertilizer in the last quarter of 2007. The case provides an opportunity for students to analyze a real-world deal-making negotiation in a developing economy. A number of aspects of the context of the negotiation and the negotiation process itself make for good class discussion. Postigo did a good job preparing for the negotiation, making the case one that emphasizes proper use of negotiation planning and sensitive understanding of the negotiation environment.
Some of the elements that make for good discussion include the following: OAF was a new organization, unknown to the five major providers of fertilizer in Kenya. The negotiations were entirely conducted by cell phone. Negotiations went through stages of request for a bid, discussion with multiple bidders, selection of a provider, and negotiation. There were multiple issues, including price delivery and form of payment. Postigo was negotiating in the shadow of the possibility that the Kenyan government would start selling subsidized fertilizer to small farmers.
Jeanne Brett, Katherine Nelson, Nicole Tilzer
Brett, Jeanne, Katherine Nelson, and Nicole Tilzer. Negotiating for Fertilizer. Case 5-409-753 (KEL434).