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Work Update

[Work Update]: FarmEd Fiji - Market Analysis and Establishing Supply Chain - February 2018

by
Melissa Lee
Melissa Lee | Feb 23, 2018 | in FarmEd - Fiji

The end of February is approaching at an alarming fast rate. It feels like we have done everything and nothing at the same time.

Throughout the month, the MA team have been in contact with dozens of supply chain members, arranging meetings and pitching them FarmEd. And of course like all other things in life, I hit blocks. Most of the time, we call them and rock up to the meetings knowing only the name of the company, forcing us to improvise and act on our feet. In the process, I had called more than 20 supply chain members but only 6 had agreed to meet with us, and within that 6, only half of them were remotely interested in the concept of FarmEd. The key to arranging meetings and getting these established companies on board is to be persistent and keep calling as we were often just dismissed.

Meeting with supply chain members allowed me to understand more about how the supply chain works, and where and how they source their produce. Through understanding how the supply chain works in the local Fijian community, we will be able to know where FarmEd’s services and products fit in. Furthermore, we were able to pitch FarmEd to them. As I said, companies aren’t always interested in us and the things that we do, but after several meetings, we had the chance to meet with the general manager of Agrana. Short summary of Agrana; it is a multi-billion Euro company that produces processed fruit, sugar and starch. During the meeting, we were able to empathise with the struggles that they face when sourcing produce from local farmers. We found that they lack an adequate communication system with the farmer. Most of the time, they rock up to the farm not knowing whether the farmers have sufficient quality produce to meet their demand. Now, knowing the challenges that they face, we are able to further improve the design of the smartphone application’s marketplace feature and the curriculum of the workshops to suit the market’s needs.

Most important of all, they had shown interest in what FarmEd was doing and were interested in working with us. Providing workshops and a marketplace for Agrana through the smartphone application has the potential to solve their current problem of communicating with farmers.

At this stage, a proposal is drawn and another meeting is arranged, we are hoping that we will be able to gain funding and support from Agrana.

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

Dolly Phiri Feb 23, 2018

Hi Mel, Glad to hear you overcame a lot of blocks! Setting up meetings and getting the locals to actually commit and show up is so difficult. Do you have any recommendations for future teams to combat this? I think AGRANA will really be a key stakeholder in progressing FarmEd’s products due to the wide network of farmers they have and also because they are an international company. I think if other wholesalers see them supporting farmers they will also be attracted to join in and work towards heir CSR goals this way. How does the Marketing Analysis team plan on managing this relationship when we are not in-country though?

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Melissa Lee Feb 23, 2018

Hey Dolly, thanks for the suggestions. Cultural difference is definitely a block that all teams encounter in all countries but most of the time, we just have to go with it. As for how to manage the relationship with Agrana when we are out of country, the twins will be here and keep in contact with them.

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Wade Tink Jul 1, 2018

Status label added: Work Update

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