Makerere University first year students, Aaron Blair Musasizi and Victor Kawuma who are studying Agribusiness Management and Business Administration respectively have innovated an online retail platform for fresh agricultural produce, farm inputs, pasteries, seedlings and grass.
The freshers, who initially thought their education journey was gravely interrupted when schools were closed due to COVID-19, now thank the virus for blessing them in disguise by allowing them ample time to develop their dream into reality.
Go AgroFresh, that is just at the website stage at the moment and awaiting completion of the apps for both Android and IOS, was launched on Monday by the tech-preneuers that are based in Kawanda, an area mostly known for agricultural excellence.
Speaking to Campus Bee yesterday, the freshers said their dream to connect buyers directly to fresh farm produce was conceived the hard way.
“We are Mitchellites (sleep in Mitchell Hall, Makerere) and buying food had been our greatest inconvenience because it is expensive. We opted to cook for ourselves but even then, we thought we were being cheated because how do you give us 2 tomatoes for Shs. 1000?” Mr. Kawuma told Campus Bee.
Consequently, the two roommates hatched a plan to always spare time and go home in Kawanda to buy cheaper foodstuffs that they could then stock for a week or so.
“But again, transport to and fro Kawanda was too much. We were spending atleast 20,000 every time and we knew we were not in this alone. We know so many students and other Ugandans would want cheaper, fresher foodstuffs delivered to them at very low prices and we quickly embarked on saving to make our dream a reality.” Musasizi pitched in.
They opened a bank account with ABSA and had been saving from the first semester at Campus until COVID-19 struck and they couldn’t save further as no upkeep was coming in. But their savings had accummulated and they could afford an amount to set up a website. Which is what they did, exactly.
Go AgroFresh, is now a fully fledged e-commerce retail platform that they launched on Monday and have even started delivering fresh products to ready customers.
Delivering with a few Boda Bodas at the moment, the innovators have plans to add more delivery men with increasing orders made through their platform. They pack in clean environmental friendly paper bags, a move that has left many customers in awe.
“I expected to receive the products in a kaveera. I was surprised to receive a well packaged delivery. The rider was easily identifiable and had a reflector jacket on, so I could tell it was him from a distance. The products reached me in less than 30 minutes and I could go on with cooking immediately.” Ismael Mukiibi, one of the clients told Campus Bee.
“There are farmers who grow perishables like tomatoes. If they don’t find quick steady market, their harvest may go bad in an instant. They don’t have capacity to set up storage facilities and we believe the quickest solution to them at the moment as we grow their capacity, is to to avail them a ready market that is there and yearning for their produce.” Musasizi added.
They advise young people and fellow campusers to take opportunities by the horn.
“Unemployment rates are high and one of our motivating factors was life after campus. We decided to take our chances with the app now and help build it into a steady platform so that by the end of our study, we have somewhere to work and are not unemployed.” Kawuma said.