Across Africa, tech entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the burgeoning consumer trend of online shopping and delivery services. In Ghana, Farmart is bringing the farmers market experience directly to consumers who can have the freshest produce, meats, poultry and seafood delivered to their doorsteps by placing orders right from their smartphones.
Grocery and food delivery services are hardly a novelty in Ghana; however, they mostly consist of packaged, non-perishable goods. Farmart appeals to more demanding consumers seeking fresh, locally-sourced ingredients to prepare meals such as grilled tilapia with jollof rice, a dish that would require freshly caught fish, chili peppers, ginger, onion and garlic. As long as the order is placed before noon, everything needed to make a grilled tilapia dinner can be delivered in the areas of Accra, Kasoa and Tema. Prices are competitive and the delivery costs are reasonable enough to entice shoppers to place more orders in the future. Payments can be handled in the traditional cash-on-delivery fashion; however, mobile-savvy Ghanaian shoppers can also pay via Airtel, MTN, Tigo, and Vodafone Cash.
The overall Farmart experience is similar to visiting a local farmers market with a couple of pluses. First of all, the produce is hand picked and cleaned for maximum hygiene and adequate presentation; second, customer service is extended in case returns or refunds need to be made. In other words, Farmart injects a touch of class to the produce shopping experience.
Farmers who are within Farmart’s current delivery area can offer their crops for sourcing; this will guarantee a payment on the spot each time staff visits to fulfill a customer order. Vendors can also offer packaged products as long as they are approved by the Food and Drugs Authority. The commission on sales of packaged products is five percent, but new vendors enjoy a free month of sales to test the online market.
Farmart also offers special fruit and vegetable boxes for customers who wish to keep a stock in their homes instead of racking up delivery charges. A vegetable box, for example, will be stocked with four green peppers, six carrots, 20 tomatoes, 10 onions, five heads of lettuce and one cabbage. Farmart Boxes can also be customized to be delivered as presents.
In October 2017, Farmart was recognized as an emerging tech firm at the African Green Revolution forum in the Ivory Coast, an event that evaluated more than two dozen tech startups in the burgeoning field of agritech. Farmart is part of a new effort to tap into the vast agricultural potential that the Continent has to offer; agritech ventures have been mentioned as being a viable sector for young Africans to tap into for the purpose of stimulating economic growth.