SokoFresh fits perfectly into the challenge, as it enables access to healthy food through access to innovation.
In Kenya, and other smallholder farmer countries, the fragmented agri-value chain in horticulture leads to mismatches in supply and demand. Current ad-hoc non-cooled storages cannot prevent the fast deterioration of harvests awaiting buyers. And buyers struggle, having to bring crops within 24 hours to urban cold stores. As a result, 40-50% of harvest never reaches the market. Small farmers suffer the most, selling low volumes, at low quality and prices.
SokoFresh rents out solar-powered cold storage near the fields, on a pay-as-you store basis to farmers, agents and buyers. With the cold stores as aggregation points, farmers can sell their produce more easily to larger buyers that will buy from the stores. Via SF’s digital platform customers can easily source, pay and check stock info.Key is that there is enough technology that fits the purpose, but the solution to making this technology avaiable to where it matters most, lies in business model innovation.
SokoFresh is able to maximize the utilization rate of the cold storages by having the mobile, solar powered units, follow the harvest seasons of high value crops across regions. Through this, it can achieve lower costs than any single farmer cooperative, which translates into the affordable rental prices offered to smallholders. As then, using cold storage becomes a risk-free service instead of a capital intensive cost, this model will be highly valuable everywhere where last-mile sourcing is an issue.
With about 500 million smallholder farmers worldwide, this venture will be highly scalable, already showcased by the first traction from our pilot in Kenya.