Tanzania Agri-tech startup Kilimo Fresh is a local distributor of fresh farm produce to supermarkets, hotels, institutions, restaurants, wholesalers, and export markets. The company connects smallholder farmers to a reliable market through top quality produce sourced directly from the farm and delivered to different destinations.
Consumers have unfettered access to an online ordering platform where they can purchase farm produce directly at affordable prices without worrying about delivery.
The recently concluded MEST Africa challenge, regarded as Africa’s biggest startup pitch competition, recently announced Kilimo Fresh as the 2020 winner, alongside $50,000 in equity funding.
2020 saw the competition grow and expand into five out of 9 countries giving more startups much-needed leeway during the pandemic. This was the first time the MEST Africa competition took place virtually, where 75 startups drawn from Senegal, Cote D Ivoire, South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Tanzania, and Kenya took place.
As a B2B produce distribution platform, Kilimo Fresh connects produce buyers and small farmers with a fair and reliable market. This ensures buyers have access to good quality produce emanating directly from the farms at affordable prices.
According to farmer stats, 40% of fresh produce is lost before it reaches the markets. This is attributed to poor farming techniques, a fractured trading system, and insufficient storage space.
One of the problems Kilimo Fresh tries to solve is price instability. For instance, most produce passes through several middlemen before reaching the end consumer. As a result, the product costs way more when it reaches the final consumer.
The startup started by bootstrapping and internally sourcing funds from family, friends, and personal savings. This helped them acquire enough customers to cover operational costs. Kilimo Fresh is in a good position to grow with the MEST funding secured and having raised US$30,000 from the Seedstars Tanzania Accelerator last December.
According to statements shared on Disrupt Africa, Kilimo Fresh is aiming to raise US$200,000 before February 2021.