MOROCCO – A food technology startup, Terraa, based in morocco has raised US$1.5 million in a pre-seed funding round to help revolutionize the African food supply chain and provide safe and affordable food by sourcing food directly from farmers.
The round was led by FoodLabs joined by UM6P Ventures, Outlierz Ventures, Musha Ventures and DFS Lab.
Africa as a continent is riddled with issues surrounding food production and security. These issues include operational inefficiencies, intermediation obstacles and a lack of technology and data.
These together with the more pressing issues like global warming and overpopulation, lead to poor quality of food produced, large amounts of waste, and inflated prices all of which disproportionately impact farmers and inevitably consumers.
Terra intends to address these issues through their technology platform which will connect them to farmers and fruit and vegetable retailers as well as hotels and restaurants, completely cutting out the middleman.
It intends to provide a consistent and competitively priced market for the produce, helping farmers cut back on the post-harvest losses often driven by a lack of markets, specifically after overproduction.
The company values the fruit and vegetable market at an estimated US$500 billion with the potential to reach over 60% of the African potential.
They also intend to use the funding money to strengthen their logistics infrastructure and expand across Morocco’s cities, then explore new markets within the region in a year.
“Morocco is our priority at the moment, and we are building the playbook in terms of operations, building our tech and expanding in cities.
When we feel confident that we can replicate this model elsewhere, we will start with a big country in Africa where there’s a huge market, to kick off our expansion in the continent,” said Youssef Benkirane, co-founder of Terraa.
According to Benkirane, orders from the farmers are made through the Terraa website or the WhatsApp social site.
Most of the processes like quality control are done internally but they plan to work with external providers over time as they continue to grow.
“We handle everything, from sourcing from the farmers to the delivery to the end consumer. We took this decision because farmers are not that tech savvy and would require a lot of training for them to know how to best utilize the tech platforms,” he said.
Their operation model ensures that prices remain steady and that hygiene is maintained throughout all the processes from production to delivery.
Benoit De Vigne, the other co-founder, and Benkirane both have extensive expertise and experience in the food tech and e-commerce space and are leveraging their longevity and familiarity in the field to grow their company and improve the food value chain in Africa.