Aiponics, a leading AgriTech startup, has launched Hrvst, a digital farmers’ market designed to make it more convenient for consumers and restaurants to get local produce. The platform has launched in Zambia and already boasts seventy-nine restaurant partners across Lusaka and hundreds of early-access users registered all serviced by over twenty farmers, small and large.
Founded by Christopher Chileshe, Aiponics envisions deploying a network of container farms that will signiﬁcantly reduce the farm-to-table distance while providing high-quality fresh produce, crop diversity, and food security to African communities. The Hrvst marketplace will serve as a source of demand for container farm produce by plugging directly into the communities through an integration with the app, listing the container as a vendor. The team playfully refers to this as the ‘vegetable vending machine’ model.
Chris commented, “With many parts of Africa facing a food crisis and the inherent risk of relying on other nations for food security, there has never been a better time to bring innovation and technology into a space that sorely needs it. We’re focused on creating hyper-local capacity for food security while increasing the quality and diversity of the food available to every person on the continent. “
The Hrvst platform allows farmers to list their produce and sell directly to end-users and restaurants, making it easier and more affordable for buyers and sellers. The platform already has an impressive set of features tailored to support and enable each end-user to maximize the power of the platform.
The Vendor app – Includes integrated point-of-sale feature to facilitate cashless transactions using mobile money and credit card payments, performance analytics, order management and ﬂeet management
The Driver app – View assigned orders, route optimization and delivery completion validation The Customer app – Order fresh food from an impressive array of local vendors to be delivered or pick up at designated locations, schedule future orders and explore nutritional beneﬁts of foods listed
The Aiponics team plans to continue growing the already rich set of features on Hrvst including integrating third-party delivery providers to add delivery capacity for small-scale farmers that might have difﬁculty with fulﬁllment.
Beyond the Hrvst marketplace, Aiponics is also building a container-based aquaponic farm franchise model. The team plans to train local marketeers and young farmers in aquaponics to create additional local capacity and empower more people to get out of poverty.
To help execute this vision, Aiponics is proud to announce that Curtis Madden has joined as CEO. Curtis has a diverse business background spanning investments, real estate, and food service distribution. He believes that Zambia and indeed Africa must ﬁnd its own Afrocentric solutions to the challenges it faces. He would like to play his part in helping to unravel these intricacies by architecting solutions that are sustainable, accessible, and affordable to the masses using local talent and expertise.
“I couldn’t be more excited to join a mission-driven team with such an ambitious vision. We’re reshaping an entire ecosystem by vertically aligning the complete supply chain and injecting technology every step of the way to bring about social good that will be sustainable long after we’re gone,” says Curtis.
Curtis will be leading Aiponics’ aggressive growth plans which include expanding the Hrvst marketplace into ﬁve other African countries in the next two years and launching the ﬁrst container farm franchise in Lusaka, Zambia.