Twiga Foods to enter Kisumu city as West Africa expansion plans still shelved

Image Source: Twiga Foods

KENYA – Twiga Foods, a Kenyan tech-enabled food distribution platform is seeking to set base in Kisumu county as part of its plan of expanding in the East Africa region.

The online distributor headquartered in Nairobi has operations in Machakos, Kajiado, Kiambu, Embu, Meru and Kirinyaga counties.

In a LinkedIn post tagged #KisumuBer Twiga stated, “The countdown is officially ON! We are expanding to our newest home – KISUMU!! Keep an eye out for our team that’s on-ground.”

Twiga operates a business-to-business marketplace platform that sources produce directly from farmers and delivers it to retail outlets, kiosks, and market stalls.

The mobile-based and cashless supply platform quickens delivery and distribution to the millions of small and medium-sized vendors in urban markets while helping farmers reduce post-harvest losses on fresh produce.

In August, chief executive Peter Njonjo decided to suspend plans to expand into the West African region as the startup shifts its focus to markets within East Africa.

“Any foreign expansion, for now, will focus on countries bordering Kenya.”

Twiga Foods Chief Executive – Peter Njonjo

Twiga foods has secured more than US$67 million in debt and equity funding since launching, the latest of which was a US$30 million Series B raise from lenders and investors led by American banking giant Goldman Sachs and the International Finance Corporation last October.

The Nairobi-based firm had planned to invest the funds in expanding into more cities in Kenya while aiming at a pan-African expansion by the third quarter of this year.

However, “those plans are impractical for the moment due to travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic,” Njonjo told The Africa Report.

“Any foreign expansion, for now, will focus on countries bordering Kenya,” he added.

After setting up in the Kenya’s third-largest city Kisumu, Twiga will enter two or three more Kenyan cities by the end of 2020.

The shift in plans, Njonjo describes as “a short-term change of emphasis” and that they are not walking away from its plans to expand across the continent.

West Africa remains a sizeable opportunity for the company due to its higher rates of urbanization compared with the east.

With the expansions slated, the company is planning to undertake a fundraising within the next 18 months, synchronised with the opening up of African markets once the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

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Co-founded in 2014 by Njonjo and Grant Brooke, Twiga Foods serves around 3,000 outlets a day with produce via a network of 17,000 farmers and 8,000 vendors.

It allows parties to carry out goods exchanges through mobile apps using M-Pesa mobile money for payment.

From an initial focus on agricultural goods and connecting the produce of farmers to marketplaces, the company has since created additional revenue streams by moving into the B2B supply chain for Fast Moving Consumer Goods and other consumer products.

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