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Ex Coca-Cola Regional President to head Kenyan startup Twiga foods

The aggregator sources fruits and vegetables from some 17,000 farmers across 20 counties in Kenya and delivers directly to 2,500 vendors a day in Nairobi and its environs.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28 – Fresh produce and fast-moving-consumer-goods aggregator Twiga Foods has appointed Peter Njonjo as its Chief Executive Officer.

Njonjo has been leading Coca-Cola West and Central Africa business unit as President.

He takes over from his co-founder Grant Brooke, who retains his executive role in the organization, working with Njonjo to expand the start-up’s footprint into the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.

Launched in 2014 to address inefficiencies in Africa’s large, but highly-fragmented informal fruit and vegetable markets, Twiga Foods is a mobile-based, cashless, business-to-business (B2B) supply platform that links farmers with food vendors.

The aggregator sources fruits and vegetables from some 17,000 farmers across 20 counties in Kenya and delivers directly to 2,500 vendors a day in Nairobi and its environs.

Twiga also lists products from many of Kenya’s leading Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) brands, as it moves towards offering a one-stop-shop for urban kiosks, grocers, and mama mbogas. 

Outgoing Twiga Foods CEO Grant Brooke said the platform has increased efficiency in the food supply chain, reduce waste and lower food prices for end-consumers, scoring a major victory for food and nutrition security in Kenya.

“If my leadership was the period in which Twiga was proving a point that there’s a better way to build food safe and secure markets, Peter’s leadership will be about institutionalizing this way of doing business and scaling it. Peter’s experience in building efficient supply chains and last-mile distribution in over 33 African countries makes him uniquely suited to lead us,” said Brooke.

Njonjo said he looks forward to scaling up the company’s vision of more efficient food markets in Africa and improved food security for our people.

“Twiga Foods is living proof of the latent opportunity to drive agricultural transformation and investment for local consumption,” added Njonjo.

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Through the Twiga Foods platform, a vendor can order stock, and the firm – backed by a logistics infrastructure that includes trucks, refrigerated warehouses, depots and sales teams – is, by the next day, able to deliver a better, low-cost, quality product, compared to informal, broker-controlled markets.

Over the past five years, the Twiga Foods has raised Sh3 billion to fund its expansion from tier-1 funds, including IFC Ventures, TLCom, Wamda Capital, DOB Equity, 1776 Ventures, Omidyar Networks, Blue Haven Initiative and the Adolf H. Lundin Foundation, among others.

It was voted Most Promising Company of the Year at the 2018 Africa CEO Forum Awards in Abidjan, Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies 2018, and the Global Winner of the 1776 Challenge Cup.

“Starting new ventures is really my skill-set and passion, while proficiently running institutions is Peter’s skill-set and passion. Twiga has an aggressive growth plan and this transition leverages on our respective expertise,” said Brooke.

Inefficiencies in the supply chain have been blamed for high food prices in African cities, where close to 90 percent of the supply comes from informal retail outlets. Kenyans spend 45 percent of their disposable incomes on food, compared to 14 percent for South Africans and 10 percent for citizens of most European countries.

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