PLATFORM

Tech startup CoAmana deepens trading in food commodity

This is through its digital market place, Amana Market.

In Summary

•The platform enables buyers to source produce directly from farmers and connect with other local businesses through a CSA model.

•Community-supported agriculture (CSA model) or cropsharing allows consumers to subscribe to the harvest of a certain farm or group of farms.

An Amana Market CSA day at the Karura Forest/FILE
An Amana Market CSA day at the Karura Forest/FILE

Tech startup – CoAmana Market Ltd is keen to deepen increase buyer-seller activities in Kenya, with a focus on agricultural produces.

This is through its digital marketplace, Amana Market, which enables buyers to source produce directly from farmers and connect with other local businesses through a CSA model.

Community-supported agriculture (CSA model) or crop sharing is a system that connects the producer and consumers within the food system more closely by allowing the consumer to subscribe to the harvest of a certain farm or group of farms.

It is an alternative socio-economic model of agriculture and food distribution that allows the producer and consumer to share the risks of farming

The model is a subcategory of civic agriculture that has an overarching goal of strengthening a sense of community through local markets.

In return for subscribing to a harvest, subscribers receive either a weekly or bi-weekly box of produce or other farm goods. This includes in-season fruits and vegetables and can expand to dried goods, eggs, milk, meat, among other produces.

Typically, farmers try to cultivate a relationship with subscribers by sending weekly letters of what is happening on the farm, inviting them for harvest, or holding an open-farm event. Some CSAs provide for contributions of labor in lieu of a portion of subscription costs.

According to CoAmana Founder and CEO, Hafsah Jumare, trust between farmers and buyers and misinformation about local farming markets are some of the most significant barriers to trade in agriculture. 

"While solving some technical issues such as logistics and storage are part of our mode of operation, I see the market access problem as not only a technical issue but also a human behaviour one,”Jumare notes.

The breakdown of trust has made the continent a cash-based economy, Jumare adds.

“Our goal is to deliver the technology needed for the buyers to connect with small businesses and farmers and to support the right human circumstances that enable such a connection to thrive,” said Jumare.

Last month, the firm held the Amana Market Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) day at the Karura Forest, where buyers had direct access to farmers and produce at cheap prices.

The event featured farmers from 19 farming clusters (Njabini, Magumu, Githioro, Wanjohi, Geta, Mirangine, Shamata, Kiriita, Leshau Pondo, Mulot, Meru, Kikuyu, Solai, Maburia, Mahiga, Kaimbaga, Weru, Naivasha, and Nairobi), along with specialty farms and MSMEs.

The produce available at the event was sold at rates ranging from five per cent less than the market price up to 50 per cent.