Twiga and IFC’s Global SME Finance Facility are set to be part of an investment of up to Kshs 3.2billion (US$30 million) through unfunded risk-sharing facilities (RSFs) with tier 1 commercial banks with the first phase being led by Kenya Commercial Bank.
IFC’s Global SME Finance Facility’s proposed investment would enable IFC and Twiga Foods to reach medium-scale farmers, mainly SMEs and VSEs with limited banking, limited operating track records or lower levels of collateral.
This initiative seeks to support over 300 irrigated medium-scale contract farmers to complement Twiga’s seasonal smallholder farmer supply base.
This will stabilize year-round fresh fruit and vegetable volumes in line with Twiga Foods mission of supplying readily available safe, affordable, and high-quality food to Kenya’s urban markets.
Peter Njonjo, Twiga’s CEO and Co-Founder mentioned that this initiative lines up strategically with the Government of Kenya’s Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy, which aims at boosting food security in the medium term through modernizing and scaling of commercial farming for the domestic market.
Twiga is a B2B e-commerce company that builds fair and reliable markets for agricultural producers, food manufacturers and retailers based on transparency and efficiency.
Last year, Twiga Foods also secured funding from Sachs Goldman, where they planned to use the equity funding to scale up Twiga Foods’ use of technology and inject efficiency into its food distribution model, ultimately boosting the consumption of fresh, quality products while lowering their cost.
In the same year, IFC also invested Sh1 billion in Twiga Foods, which upped its food handling processes to global standards.
Twiga which started it’s operations at Nairobi Garage back in 2014, has a business model that offers farmers a predictable rate for their produce, timely payments, escape the troubles of delivering to the market and avoiding the network of middlemen. Vendors, on the other end of the supply chain, are assured of a reliable supply of produce.
Besides fresh produce, Twiga has in recent months ventured into processed foods like rice, maize flour, cooking oil, milk, juice, and sugar following demand from manufacturers keen on tapping into the firm’s technology-based distribution network.
There are about 180,000 informal individual fresh food retailers in Kenya serving an estimated 6 million people, making the market very fragmented.