A growing number of grocery service entrepreneurs have found a niche for themselves and are filling in the gap by supporting busy people, especially working mothers with grocery shopping.
Most of these grocery delivery services rely solely on apps and social media platforms to take orders from clients and deliver at their doorsteps for a fee in addition to grocery cost.
Grocery delivery services may not be new in many parts of the world, but Ghana had such ‘luxury’ some few years ago.
New grocery services are springing up daily and here are a few of them.
Jaarno (translated “market” in the Ga language) launched in 2016 is one of such services delivering fresh fruits, vegetables and canned food products to its growing client base.
Jaarno, according to its founder, Ahuma Cabutey aims at disrupting the agricultural eco-system and change how food is distributed from either the market, farms, or even food manufacturers to the consumer.
The Jaarno app lets you have foodstuff delivered to your home or office with just a click.
“Because of the strong drive for digital growth in the country, more people are embracing the idea– seeing our platform as modern and convenient,” he told Business World Ghana in an interview.
“What most people are worried about is finding a trusted person to do their shopping for them. From our homes, we have been taught to touch and examine our foodstuff as we buy, so the question of whether another person can be vigorous like we do is always the biggest limiting factor,” he adds.
Currently, the business’s major customers are the working professionals, between the ages of 27 to 55, middle-income earners, technologically inclined and time conscious. However, Cabutey emphasizes the affordability rate for all groups of people.
“It’s just like walking to the traditional market, but better-the market walks to you. And you get to save your energy and time to do other stuff too,” he said of the App.
Farmart was established in 2016 the same period as Jaarno. Its founder Abraham Quaye, a farmer himself was inspired by bitter complains from farmers about lack of ready market which often resulted into losses.
“I discovered through research that farmers in Ghana suffer over 30% post-harvest losses which is rather unfortunate and moved to build an online farmer’s market to help smallholder farmers in Ghana and across Africa have access to ready market, reduce post-harvest losses and increase return on investments by making their produce readily available to consumers,” Quaye said explaining the rationale behind Farmart.
Farmart is an online farmer’s market in Ghana linking farmers to households and businesses such as restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and food processors.
The business helps farmers sell their produce after harvest by making it readily available to individuals and businesses. Products are delivered at the doorsteps of individuals after an order is placed via their website or FarmartApp.
The business module is dependent on tech savvy Ghanaians against the backdrop of rising smart phone use and its related social media platforms.
“Our major customers are working class women who are normally busy and may not have enough time to go grocery shopping. We have other people such as expatriates, students, nursing mothers and men, also shopping for their wives,” he adds.
To ensure groceries are delivered fresh and safe, produce are sourced fresh from farmers daily. Produce are scrutinized to meets required standards, washed, packaged and delivered within five hours or less depending on the customer’s location.
EMB Ahenfie, – a social enterprise located in Ghana’s second largest city, Kumasi through its, Kayaye Ahenfie initiative seeks to rebrand the work of Kayayei by organising periodic self-development trainings, grooming sessions and employment opportunities.
Inspired by the difficulties associated with accessing groceries while racing against time, Naomi B. Kokuro, founder of EMB Ahenfie together with her team developed KayaApp- a grocery shopping platform that allows users to order groceries tailored to suit their needs.
The initiative has three major services; Order and Delivery, Order and Pickup and Market Escort. The Order and Delivery service allows orders to be shopped and delivered at a place of convenience. With the Order and Pickup, groceries are shopped, and clients pick up.
The Market Escort service connects customers with groomed Kayayei to shop around with you for a fee.
Although, the business outsources its delivery operations to other companies, their growing client base means the need for a larger courier service.
Part of their future plan is to partner with a farmer-based organization for fresh organic produce.
“In future we are partnering with AgricConnect– a social enterprise working with farmers to grow organic vegetables because they buy fresh produce from farmers and supply,” she said.
She adds, “With funds, we will buy a storage system and order the groceries in bulk and store. The plan is to increase client base and get as many kayayei as possible engaged.”
Elselund Ewuzdie Sampson is a young graphic designer at a local TV station and the founder of Big Samps-Agbogbloshie– a grocery shopping service that allows customers to order groceries mainly through social media.
After failing with the idea several times during her university days, she finally got a foothold last year (2017), and has been working to expand the business. In a month, according to her, she serves between 50 and 60 families and individuals.
“We plan on gaining more online presence with our website and app which is currently under construction as driving force to become a household name and expand to more cities.”
What runs through almost all these startups is the quest to outsource other parts of the business-like delivery to other companies in order to focus on improving their services.
Lack of addressing system also poses a slew of challenges in locating clients who have placed orders.
Some of these startups have encountered instances where they are unable to meet demands as most farmers in Ghana produce on a smaller scale.
Funding has also been a hurdle; Jaarno for example have had to bootstrap to build the business. Though there are funds available, says Cabutey, the focus has always been on large scale businesses looking to raise USD5 million and above.
The African Development Bank Group (afdb) predicts Africa’s agribusiness sector to reach US$1 trillion by 2030.
“These two sectors (data) combined present us with really great opportunities to explore to better lives of farmers and consumers. We are the only generation optimistic about ending hunger and poverty which can be achieved through agriculture,” says Abraham Quaye.
By Pamela Ofori- Boateng/ Business World Ghana/ 2018©