This blog post was co-authored by Samuel Ajadi and Peter Ndichu.
Agriculture accounts for over a quarter of Kenya’s GDP (or around half if other related sectors are included). Over 75 per cent of the country’s population makes some part of their living from agriculture. However, the Kenyan agricultural sector can be inefficient and complex, and food waste is high due to inefficient handling practices. At the same time, small- and medium-sized fruit and vegetable vendors often lack access to a reliable supply of affordable and quality products.
Twiga Foods was created in 2014 to reduce fragmentation in the produce market. The agritech startup runs a mobile-based B2B food supply platform that supplies fresh fruits and vegetables sourced from farmers in rural Kenya to small- and medium-sized vendors, outlets and kiosks in the country’s capital, Nairobi. The mobile-based cashless platform allows Twiga Foods to offer higher prices and a guaranteed market to farmers, and lower prices and a reliable supply to vendors. It also helps to reduce post-harvest losses and waste as it matches demand with supply. Consumers also benefit as they are able to buy fresher products at lower prices thanks to a more efficient supply chain.
Twiga Foods deals directly with farmers and operates 25 collection centres and a fleet of 50 delivery vehicles. Twiga Foods employs 240 staff and has become the largest seller of bananas in Kenya. As of January 2018, the start-up had sourced more than 245 tonnes of bananas each week from over 3,000 farmers. These bananas are distributed through 7,000 weekly deliveries to more than 3,500 registered vendors who re-order every two days, on average.
The Ecosystem Accelerator programme is supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Australian Government, the GSMA and its members.