East Africa Fruits Co., a Tanzanian company addressing food distribution challenges to improve efficiencies in the farm-to-market sector, announced that it closed Series A equity funding totaling $2.05 million led by Goodwell Investments with participation from FINCA Ventures and elea.
This investor capital accelerates East Africa Fruits’ ability to build essential supply chain infrastructure and better transport fresh produce directly from farms to urban marketplaces and strengthen livelihoods for small-scale farmers and food vendors.
A social enterprise, East Africa Fruits provides a stable, fair market for horticulture crops by aggregating supply and demand and improving cold chain distribution and warehousing infrastructure that reduces post-harvest loss and increases availability and quality of produce in local markets.
The combined $3.1 million in Series A equity and debt capital will help the company to grow its operations. Over the next three years, East Africa Fruits will serve over 10,000 farmers and 6,000 small-and-medium enterprise (SME) vendors. The company will also acquire new machinery for its main distribution center and build essential infrastructure and technology to collect, store and distribute produce to match demand more accurately.
Social entrepreneur Elia Timotheo founded East Africa Fruits in 2013 with the goal of transforming the farm-to-market value chain — reducing the waste by removing layers of middlemen and delivering more control, transparency and efficiency to small-scale farmers and informal vendors.
In Tanzania, roughly half of what farmers produce never reaches the market and this loss is spread out across the farm-to-market value chain due to poor transportation and storage that results in spoilage, and a lack of market training for smallholder farmers. With more robust and technology-driven infrastructure, East Africa Fruits will bring greater efficiencies to the sector and increase productivity and living standards for local farmers and the vendors who rely on them.