Twiga Foods is working with Silafrica, a sustainable packaging supplier to introduce its Smart Crates integrated with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and NFC tags to send real-time data as the crate moves from one touchpoint to another.
Twiga Foods and Silafrica’s crate will be frequently scanned at specific checkpoints within the course of its journey using the tags on the crates. It enables the farmers to conveniently key in information about the product with a single tap of their phone.
This new tech will help farmers track their produce from their farm to the drop-off stage, when it reaches the vendors in the market, ensuring that they are actively involved throughout the process.
An upgrade to the regular crates would enable geolocation in a bid that will help Twiga Foods track the number of crates en-route, how much product is on transit, and how many trucks would be required to transport all the produce. The crates are then brought back for reuse afterwards. This move will minimize the operational and logistical costs hence less post-harvest waste.
The tech is also expected to offer efficient management of their distribution channels, and aid in utilizing their resources more efficiently for a more streamlined and sustainable approach to distribution.
Usually, when farmers produce the products, they need the means to transport them in safe secondary packaging that would ensure that their produce can reach the markets in the best quality possible.
Silafrica’s Group Executive Director, Akshay Shah states, “The thought process behind the crates unique design will be able to prevent damage to the fresh farm produce, ensuring that it arrives to the end consumers safe and sound.”
The farm produce can arrive to our shops and homes in the best quality possible with minimal losses, which means a win-win for the farmers and consumers. The reusing, plus recycling, means that we are taking the necessary steps that will enable us to leave the environment better than we found it while gaining from its resources sustainably in the process.
With headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, Silafrica has manufacturing hubs in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia, and serves clients in these countries as well as Uganda, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and others throughout Africa
Recently, Twiga Foods partnered with Jumia to deliver fresh and processed food to the homes of consumers. The deal aims to cover home delivery into most of Nairobi’s suburbs, leveraging Twiga’s existing infrastructure of depots in Dagoretti, Donholm, Embakasi, Thome, Ruaka, Kaloleni, Nairobi West, Syokimau, Waiyaki Way and Kilimani. It’s highly likely that the smart crates will be among those used to drop the produce to these markets.
Earlier, IBM Research and Twiga Foods extended access to microloans to 220 food stall retailers across Kenya using a blockchain-based financing system.
By adding credit services, Twiga Foods aimed at growing its logistic services into a total market ecosystem as envisioned by entrepreneur founder and former CEO Grant Brooke. Late last year, the $13 million start-up began working with IBM Research to deploy a blockchain-enabled supply lending platform to help scale its reach.
Small and medium sized businesses (SME) in African countries often have difficulty accessing sufficient credit due to the complexities of financing processes, high loan costs, collateral requirements and lack of a credit score. This can make it difficult for these organizations to scale their businesses or implement new processes or technologies.
To address this, scientists at the IBM Lab in Nairobi determined that they could use something most people in Africa do have access to, mobile phones, to accurately calculate creditworthiness.
Seven months ago, Twiga Foods raised $30M from Goldman Sachs to digitize food distribution by increasing its investments in their technology and organization to tackle the inefficiencies in Africa’s domestic food production and distribution ecosystems; a $300bn informal and fragmented market that is estimated to grow to $1trn by 2030.