Project Everest

Work Update

[Work Update]: FarmEd Fiji - Proposed B2B Approach - February 2018

Dolly Phiri
Dolly Phiri | Feb 13, 2018 | in FarmEd - Fiji

As you may be aware from our last post, February’s Proof of Concept team has been re-designing the previous business model of B2C to B2B. We initially decided that co-ops would be the best way of making local produce viable Fiji-wide because smallholder farmers would be able to put their produce together to meet the massive demand from hotels. However, there were several problems with this model;

  1. This is beyond our capacity. We were trying to execute a B2B model where the target business is currently inexistent and would require a lot of manpower and financial resources to establish. This is not feasible and a minimum viable product could not be developed

  2. The minimum viable product (MVP) trial we wanted to run would have been PE purchasing produce straight from the farmers and physically transporting it to the hotels. This would only essentially prove that we are able to do what the current middlemen do. The produce we purchase would be what is already in the market that FarmED had no influence over. What would this essentially prove? Nothing new

  3. There would be nobody in country to continue facilitating the MVP and so it would be difficult to measure success if the process was not ongoing

  4. Co-ops have been tried many times but they have not worked due to several factors such as lack of commitment, loyalty and the relaxed attitude of the Fijians where they are reluctant to sow seed again after they have been paid.

Our new solution aims to target already established businesses. We want to target the Intercontinental Hotel, Shangri-La, The Marriott and AgroMarketing. Our main objective with these stakeholders is to obtain funding from them for workshops for the farmers who will ultimately supply to them. The stakeholders will also be responsible for purchasing blueprints to be implemented on the farms so that their produce is of high quality and quantity. This is attractive to these stakeholders because it guarantees them quality produce and also shows that they are a socially responsible business. They can use this in their marketing strategy.

We believe that this new direction will reduce Project Everest’s financial risk in that we will not unnecessarily invest funds into running an MVP that does not measure anything we are not already aware of. This will also make it easier to continue operations for the next month as there is no need for a team to be in-country transporting produce from farmers to wholesalers.

Our questions to the community are; 

  1. How do you think we should approach the hotels to obtain funding?

  2. Does anyone know of any organisations that have tried to do this with hotels? Was it successful?

  3. What do you think an ideal MVP would look like and how can we continue the trial when not in-country?

edited on 6th September 2018, 01:09 by Justin Hakeem

Corey Middleton Feb 13, 2018

We need advice on how to deal with a situation where we secure money form a corporate. I am sure there are some form of legal considerations that need to be made. But it is beyond the level of our team to know specifics surrounding this.

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Liv Hendy Feb 14, 2018

Hi Dolly,
This is really interesting, I'm the Cambodia Field Dev TL and this will be my 3rd month in country in Cambodia. It's very different between our countries, but I think this is a really interesting path forward.

In regards to question 2. We've seen a LOT of hotels implement a similar models mainly in regards to corporate social responsibility, setting up villages with seed packages, lessons and tools to practice organic farming. This is mainly focused around low income small holder farmers but some examples are the Shinta Mani Foundation - who have set up an experimental farm that services the hotel with organic vegetables.

I think this would be really interesting to explore, particularly within Cambodia as we have strong competition with NGOS and US AID, but in saying that it has become clear a lot of the models applied here are failing mainly around poor transference of education and techniques.

I'm tagging the MA TL Emma Rickert, she may be able to shine more light on possible links between hotels as a supply chain opportunity.

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Corey Middleton Feb 14, 2018

Awesome! Thanks Liv. If you ever want to chat about next steps let us know and we can make it happen

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Wade Tink Jul 1, 2018

Status label added: Work Update

There is potential for this to form the basis of customer segment or a proposed experiment.

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