One tomato farmer who made losses to poor market is connecting peasants to online buyers on an e-commerce marketplace,Kitchen Soko, which he pioneered.
Winston Wachaga, who started the Internet-based market solution less than a year ago, is linking more than 80 farmers to Nairobi middle-class consumers.
Consumers place online orders in advance and Kitchen Soko requests supplies from farmers before delivering.
Wachaga says he came up with the idea after facing frustration with tomato loss after missing a reliable and profitable market.
“It is difficult to get produce to the market. We end up frustrated because of the exploitation from middle-men given that most of the produce is perishable,” told The Guardian.
Farmers end up losing even initial investment costs.
Kitchen Soko is not only assuring the suppliers of a ready market, but also giving middle class consumers a taste of freshness; goods are brought and delivered; they do not stock, the entrepreneur says.
“A customer orders, we ask the farmer to harvest and we deliver,” he said.
With such specifications, wastage is minimised since the farmer will only harvest the required quantity.
Consumers can order fresh livestock, vegetables and bakery products.
Deliveries are made on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Meat and baked foods are delivered on Friday and Saturdays only.
A consumer will pay Sh250 for goods costing Sh3,000 and below. Sh950 is the minimum order a consumer can place.
With consumers shying away from 'healthy' looking vegetables which are said to be grown along sewage lines and roads, Kitchen Soko establishes the source first.
With the enterprise making about 500 box deliveries a week, Wachaga says the platform is quickly becoming the preferred shopping tool for the city's busy middle class buyers.
Given that the deliveries to specific customers are not in large quantities, it makes the platform an appropriate market for small-scale farmers.
Payment is cash on delivery or upfront via Mpesa.
Some areas covered by this Kiambu Road-based service enterprise include Westlands, Central Business District, Chiromo,Hurlingham, Parklands and Kitisuru.