Nigerian startups digitize food supply chain

Start ups are shaking up Nigeria's local food supply chain.

Vendease is one firm which has created a digital marketplace allowing wholesalers, shopkeepers, restaurateurs and hotels to buy directly from farms and manufacturers.

Tunde Kara is the CEO and co-founder.

"We started in the middle of a pandemic and like we started just when Lagos shut down and at first we were concerned that we're not going to get any business but it turns out that that singular act of shutting everywhere down and people couldn't directly go to the market themselves and we could because we had a license as a procurement company helped to change the buying habits of these businesses."

The start-ups work with producers by offering credit to farms help them grow, signing supply deals, collecting produce and selling it at a specific rate to the buyers - making money on the interest and through commission of around 1%-5%.

Vendease says it helped more than 100 hotels and restaurants save nearly half a million dollars in food procurement costs in the last nine months.

Michael Williams has been using Vendease to supply the hotel and restaurant he manages in Lagos.

"(It) has been easy because they do what we really require for most suppliers and that is to combine quality of the actual produce with price so getting the right price and getting good quality in Lagos isn't the easiest thing. Either you get great quality for you know outrageous prices or you get the right prices but you can never guarantee the quality."

Farm 360 in Ogun state has also used Vendease to access financing for feed, its biggest cost. That has helped raise daily chicken production by 20%, according to manager Mubarak Badamosi.

"It has actually helped us to produce more in terms of the volume that we are able to bring out. Before now we used to bring out only 2,000 in a day but with that funding that came from them we are able to actually scale up that number to 2,500 which is very significant.''

Kara and his team plan to expand to 20 cities across and sign up to 50,000 businesses on the company platform in the next three years.

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