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StanChart moots digital platform to link farmers with buyers

 From left: SC Ventures Member Jiten Arora, Tawi CEO Cherotich Rutto, and StanChart Chief Executive Kariuki Ngari during the launch of Tawi Fresh Kenya. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Standard Chartered Bank (StanChart) has launched a digital platform to help farmers access the market for their produce.

The lender said its new subsidiary, Tawi Fresh Kenya, will ensure consistency of payment for farmers.

Speaking during the launch of the business-to-business marketplace at Limuru in Kiambu County, yesterday, StanChart Chief Executive Kariuki Ngari said agriculture - especially small scale - can become bankable if the problem of payment and market access is solved.

"Once small-scale agriculture is bankable, you can scale it up," he said.

"Tawi is connecting farmers in different parts of Kenya, we want to connect farmers from wherever they are to the kitchen."

Mr Ngari said the traceability of produce is the key driver of Tawi, which is projected to expand into other African markets.

Tawi connects farmers directly to produce buyers, mainly hotels, restaurants, caterers, schools and hospitals.

"Tawi digital marketplace allows farmers to get into the platform and apply to supply whatever produce they have and the commercial kitchens place their orders every day," a brief about the platform says.

"Tawi ensures that orders are delivered to individual kitchens."

Tawi chief executive officer Cherotich Rutto said the firm received Sh118.14 million during its incubation period, which was used for market research.

"We did interaction with our commercial kitchens users and farmers in order to build a platform for users," she said.

The bank said Tawi has attracted over 1,000 farmers and over 250 commercial kitchens onto the platform.

"Farmers want financial support, that's where the bank comes in. We are paying farmers within 72 hours," Ngari said.

The platform started supplying in Nairobi and has expanded into Machakos, Kajiado and is looking to go into Mombasa and Maasai Mara where there is a vibrant hotel industry.

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