Agritech app developer scoops entrepreneurship award
Stellenbosch University student and entrepreneur Lunga Momoza is working to connect fruit and vegetable farmers to a direct market, through a new agritech e-commerce app called Basket.
Momoza recently won the Stellenbosch Network Entrepreneur of the Month for his online shopping invention, which seeks to digitise the supply and value chains between rural-based farmers and informal traders across the Western Cape.
The Stellenbosch Network Entrepreneurial Mentorship Programme aims to give entrepreneurs the support and skills they need to grow their businesses, through an eight-month initiative that provides extensive coaching and guidance from experienced businesspeople.
The mobile app, currently in prototype phase, is aimed at creating market access to small-scale and commercial-sized farmers, by providing direct access to markets in the informal sectors of the Western Cape, while also allowing informal traders to have a market to buy from.
In the app, listed farmers are able to see what produce is in demand, while traders are able to stock from a wide range of available produce, which includes fresh fruit, meat and vegetables.
The app also provides an option to pay cash upon delivery.
Momoza, who is completing a degree in international relations and economics, says he coined the idea after his aunt’s fruit and vegetable store was forced to close down, when she struggled to source quality produce during SA’s hard lockdown.
Momoza tells ITWeb: “The mobile app looks to create a marketplace where informal traders can have direct access to quality produce. Traders will be able to get the goods delivered-in-house, to avoid the struggles associated with receiving stock, or they will be able to collect their goods from the warehouse. We will be charging a 7.5% fee on deliveries and 3.5% on every transaction made via the mobile app.’’
The app development is done by a fellow Stellenbosch University student, who is studying engineering. The official app will be launched in September, and will be available from Android and iOS stores.
Momoza points out that employment opportunities will be created for locals, as Basket intends to partner with car and bakkie owners, to provide deliveries for traders who don’t have transportation to collect their order.
Basket recently received funding from Telkom, which includes support funding and data, to supply traders, so they do not struggle to place an order due to the high costs of data.
Small-scale and commercial-sized farmers will benefit from the use of data analytics tools that will be integrated into the website to keep track of the quantity of their produce via the mobile app, and track which areas have high demand for their products.
‘‘Our current focus is on on-boarding farmers and traders from across the province. This is a complicated process, as we are required to list all the produce they sell, while also marketing their brand. We have recently partnered with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, which is key to connecting us with big commercial players – which is our long-term goal.
“We believe with time and persistence, we will be successful,” Momoza concludes.