Tracking market trends
A consistent market for fresh food producers is being provided by an online grocery store and delivery service, which leverages consumer data to match local supply with demand.
Urban consumers in Rwanda are accessing a 24-hour door-to-door delivery service for their fresh produce orders. Dubbed ‘Park and Pick’, the service is helping to strengthen Rwanda’s agricultural value chains by providing a consistent and reliable local market. North Harvest Ltd is the agribusiness behind Park and Pick, which delivers up to 208 different food items, including fresh meat, fish and fruit and vegetables, to consumers in and around Kigali.
The company buys up fresh food products from 15 approved farming suppliers across the country, and cleans, sorts, and packages the produce before delivery. In order to calculate the production and supply quantities required, and identify the most popular products to promote online, North Harvest Ltd follows consumer trends on produce demand through the Park and Pick website. "Our major focus is leveraging on consumer data to structure existing value chains" says Segond Fidens Iragena, founder of North Harvest Ltd. According to Iragena, tracking data from the online orders has been the key to growing the business as it provides him with “a significant market sample on customers' tastes, preferences, rhythms and purchasing power.”
To ensure sustainable produce supply, Park and Pick has set up a fixed reasonable price for local producers, and the ready market helps the smallholders to meet demand requirements without incurring postharvest losses. "It was challenging before to bring high quantities of produce to the market because most would perish and it is difficult to store," says Alexis Munyabuhoro, a vegetable trader from Nyabugogo in Kigali city. According to Munyabuhoro, he is now able to sell vegetables in good quantity and quality thanks to the market opportunity provided through Park and Pick. “It’s not acceptable to lose 40% of our agricultural production year after year, whilst people in urban areas have a hard time accessing quality fresh food,” says Iragena. “The accurate data is helping to build trust between farmers, traders and buyers through the deal process,” he confirms.
Since launching in July 2018, Park and Pick has seen the number of its registered customers, including major hotels and restaurants in Kigali, steadily grow from 10 in 2018 up to 130 in 2019. The agribusiness is currently generating about €55,490 annually through its distribution of fresh products. The company is also employing a team of 15 young people to serve in various roles such as packers and distributors.