Cold aggregation at farm level
SokoFresh helps small farmers and agents to aggregate enough produce (and keep it cool) to find buyers.
In East Africa, 90% of farmers are very small. That is why buyers need to aggregate produce from many farmers to make it worthwhile. Aggregating enough produce to fill a truck takes around 3 days and happens in the sun or warm shed, causing huge losses. Moreover, due to a lack of connection and information, there is a lot of loss because of the mismatch in the timing of wholesalers buying and farmers harvesting.
By adding information and cold storage in the smallholder value chain, we can reduce losses significantly. Agents have the time to aggregate produce, without incurring losses. IT at the cold aggregation point informs buyers on how to plan their logistics efficiently. There are relevant (solar-powered) technologies on the market, however, they are too expensive to buy for any of the stakeholders in the chain. SokoFresh is testing a new business model; agents, buyers, or farmers can rent cold storage space per kilo per day. The company has cold storage in Muranga, and works with TruTrade to sort and aggregate their avocados. 2 other Ecozen cold storages are being shipped from India to service more aggregators and buyers in mangoes and French beans.
A scaling company with 190 cold storages throughout Kenya, operated by farmer agents as franchisee. 60% food loss reduction at farmgate + 30% income increase for farmer.