We produce and sell fresh fruits and vegetables while making use of modern technology in production, storage, handling and transportation for better yield. This involves the use of cold store rooms, refrigerated trucks, irrigation systems and greenhouses to reduce post-harvest losses suffered by most farmers.
Our goal is to benefit farmers by increasing their incomes through helping them adopt cold chain technology so as to increase shelf life of produce.
We deal in distribution of fruits and vegetables to Tanzanians. Our company has acquired a 170 acre land at Fukayosi, Bagamoyo which is dedicated for production of fruits and vegetables. Currently, 30 acres of the land have been cleared and planted with pineapples and watermelons. The company has since its commencement in 2011 been buying produce from smallholder farmers, processing the produce through cleaning, sorting and packing, then reselling hygienic produce to customers. We have worked with more than 50 farmers since 2011 and have increased their average income from USD 500 to USD 2,900 by the year 2015. Our company has been involved in the horticulture business for five years now and has been able to study the demands and challenges in the market as well as challenges facing farmers.
We are looking forward into applying modern technology that is, using cold chain logistics, irrigation systems and greenhouses to improve both the quantity and quality of our yield. This will enhance adaptation to climate change by reducing dependence on weather and negative effects of calamities such as droughts and floods.
Our business was self-funded long before its launch in 2013 until 2014 when we received 65,000 US$ from Belgian investors who sparked the growth momentum. The next crucial stages of the business are to incorporate Cold Storage and processing facilities together with refrigerated trucks to complete the Cold Chain Logistics and continue to strengthen our partnership with smallholder farmers beyond just purchasing at better prices.
We are now constrcuting our first cold storage and processing facility with a total size 1,400 m2 equivalent to at least 500 MT at once. This construction has already begun to take place since late 2015 and we expect it to be completed in phases, whereas phase I will be completed by July 2016.
With the warehouse, we will be able to aggregate all the volumes we produce from the farm, then process and store. This will keep us in a position to add value to the produce in terms of proper handling, packaging, storage and distribution to higher end customers.
Without Cold Storage Warehouse, our margins are extremely low, and we are forced to trade with middlemen otherwise the produce will go to waste.
We have begun using two greenhouses on our farm at Bagamoyo, where we successfully planted yellow and red peppers as well as tomatoes.
Our revenues so far have hit atleast USD 600k for the last financial year which is a good rise since we began operations
How does your innovation work?
We solve the problem of Post- Harvest Losses. About 4.5 million tonnes ($1.2 billion) of produce is being wasted in Tanzania (230 million-tonnes Sub-Saharan Africa) annually. This is due to poor handling and improper transportation vehicles, lack of storage facilities in farms and markets and middlemen who unfairly pay farmers low prices.
The innovation focuses on a unique business-model through use of Cold-Chain-Logistics to improve handling, storage, and transportation of fruits and vegetables, also adaptation to climate changes enhanced by use of greenhouses in production. We work with farmers, optimizing their opportunity to produce, reducing post-harvest-losses as we optimize storage and end-to-end distribution.
The enterprise buys fresh fruits and vegetables from smallholder farmers at fair prices and processes them by cleaning, sorting, packing, and marketing. Our uniqueness comes from the use of cold storage facilities and professional handling which ensures high quality of the fresh produce from the farm to the final consumer and the employment of organic farming is applied in all farming activities. Our produce is produced in arable farms in Tanzania via green house and irrigation technology and delivered through cold chain logistics via various methods such as physical markets and online customer portfolio who request orders from either our website, SMS platform or our future mobile app that we are soon going to launch
What Evidence do you have that your Innovation works?
Yes, we have so far gained recognition and awards nationally and internationally which appreciate the company's goals, impact and bright future.
Such recognitions included but are not limited to, BBC, CNN, African Entrepreneurship Awards, AECF run by KPMG, AgDevCo, SANKALP Africa, United Nations -SEED Awards, Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program, BID Network and Fledge LLC (USA).
Our continous growth and revenue rise since the kick off of the company activities also indicates that the business is sustainable and potential.
Since 2012, we have been able to raise incomes of smllholder farmers who we have worked with from an average of USD 500 to an average of USD 2,900.
With better storage mechanisms and farming techniques, the impact will multiply and reach more farmers
Do you have current users or testers?
Our company has been operating for more than 4 years now hence we have studied the market and challenges involved in this business.
We have been facing challenges with storage of produce which led us to come up with the solution of using cold chain logistics.
Currently, the cold chain logistics has not been adopted in Tanzania by the fruits and vegetable producers. This is highly contributed tp less access to such technology and poor farming techniqurs of the smllholder farmers.
However, we visited various companies out of Tanzania including Charlie's Produce (http://www.charliesproduce.com/) in Seattle USA which has successfully applied cold chain logistics over the years to increase the shelf life of produce hence making high revenues and very good profits.
What is your strategy for expanding use of your innovation?
We will struggle to achieve our targeted revenues and remain sustainable by ensuring strictly high quality and reliable produce all year round.
We will also ensure the presence of a strong management team as well as board of directors so as to ensure achievement of our set objectives.
By expanding to the international markets, we will increase our revenues and reduce exposure to business risks.
Our company will maintain good relationships with smallholder farmers which will benefit both the company and the farmers.
Use of marketing strategies, good customer service and reliable distribution techniques including use of e commerce to expand our sales
Our next steps include
- Purchase of refrigerated trucks to complement the use of the cold storage facility under construction
- Expansion by purchasing and setting up more greenhouses so as to work with more farmers and benefit them more
- Establishment of a modern sales point that will ease distribution and increases our revenues as well as offering employment to more people
- Setting up collection centers in different areas of the country to ease the aggregation of farmers' produce