Technology has so much impacted everyday activities that it is difficult to imagine life without it. Take the agricultural sector, for instance, tractors are replacing the use of hoe for tilling, ploughing and winnowing the ground. Some of the latest application of technology is the use of drones for harvesting, IoT for precision farming, AI for pest and disease identification, robotics for seeding, aeronautics for vertical farming, and many other farm operations.
These technologies are not limited to the farming process; they also apply to the agricultural supply chain. Farmers face a major challenge of accessing the market for their produce. Mobile technology has enabled farmers to trade goods without traveling long distances to major markets. Providing farmers with a guaranteed market for their products enables them to focus more on producing quality yields that will meet the demands of buyers.
Twiga Foods is one of the agritech companies that provide farmers with guaranteed markets. They use mobile technology to bridge the gap between farmers and vendors in Kenya. As a result, they eliminate the long supply chain, provide the market, reduce logistics cost and postharvest losses of farm yields. Twiga also partners with financial bodies to provide loans and advisory support for farmers.
Grant Brooke discovered a gap in the supply chain of fresh produce in the Kenyan agricultural sector. This was during his doctorate at Oxford University. He moved over to Kenya in 2008 to conduct a field study of small-scale retailers. He noticed that vendors wake up at 4 am to buy fresh perishable produce and transport them to their business premises every day.
While pondering about an easier way to supply fresh produce, he met with Peter Njonjo, his friend and business partner to discuss the idea. Peter Njonjo and Grant Brooke co-founded Twiga food in November 2014. They started with five tuk-tuks (local tricycles in Kenya) to ferry 10 tonnes of bananas and pineapples to Kaloleni market daily.
The duo invested Sh30 million into the business within the first year of operation. Over time, they have received Sh300 million investment from venture capitalists and financial bodies, including IFC, Equity, Wamda Capital, and World Bank Group. Twiga Foods has grown from just distributing bananas and pineapples to more than 17 products; including flowers, cabbage, tomatoes, mango, potato, and onions.
They have more than 500 employees, over 13000 farmers, and 100 trucks. They supply more than 1000 tonnes of fresh produce to over 6000 vendors a day. The company operates collection centres for farmers to deliver their fresh produce across the country.