To make affordable and healthy local food products accessible to communities through a convenient innovative distribution chain.
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
I was born and grew up in Accra. At age 12 years.Growing up,I became an orphan at the age of 12 and was left in the care of my aged grandmother together with my three sisters in Accra. Life became so hard with us mostly having to drop out of school and go to bed hungry. At a point I took up a job as a kitchen cleaner in a restaurant and that was when I got regular food home and money to support my sisters and myself.
Population growth within Accra has been explosive in the last decade resulting in the rapid creation of semi-urban communities outside of the main business district. This has resulted in over dependence on traditional food market centres and inefficiencies within the food distribution chain creating high cost of food prices,food waste and essential minerals deficiency among a high number of the population mostly women and children. The Accra market is filled with several twists and turns as well as some very interesting dynamics. Although there is a rapid growth in the supermarket industry with Melcom, Shoprite, Palace, Game, Koala, and MaxMart leading the charge, the key decision makers are the importers, distributors, and local traditional food market suppliers. These players control the market, branding of product, and the market price of products, especially given the fluctuating currency. The open market is still the dominant, retail outlet in Accra.
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
The food retailing environments in developing countries are traditionally different from developed countries in many ways. The main food retail outlets in developing countries are wet markets that are open air public markets with many retailers specializing in selling a small amount of one item or a few items, they are referred to as traditional markets. The distribution system supplying Accra markets with food products links thousands of smallholder producers to hundreds of small food retailers in urban areas. In addition to traditional markets, there are a variety of other small food retailers spread throughout the Accra and most of this sell on the floor under unhygienic environment. Modern retail is mainly restricted to Accra's main central business district, with a sizable portion of the population preferring to do their weekly shopping at the traditional markets. This trend is fast changing, however, as the size of the middle class keeps increasing. Admittedly, economic growth has been relatively slow in recent years but analysts forecast prosperous years ahead for the food retail sector owing to the growing middle class. E-commerce is also picking up in Ghana. About 65 percent of the population is currently active internet users. Like in most cities in Sub-Saharan Africa, Accra presents exciting opportunities to food retail business, buoyed by fast urbanization, rising household incomes, a growing middle class, change in lifestyle and eating habits mainly due to emerging demanding work schedules. Most people are today prefering to eat local foods on weekends and do with cheap affordable diets like noodles,pizza,etc. Children are the most caught within this trap especially with schools having to provide affordable lunch recipes for it's students. Retail outlets stock more imported food products than local ones owing to a non-vibrant processing/manufacturing sector. The stocking ratio of imported food products to locally produced food products averages more than 4:1. There is a significant lag of payment between open markets and modern markets. Most importers and distributors prefer business transactions with buyers from the open or traditional market category of retail outlets to business transactions with buyers from the modern markets namely hyper/supermarkets. The reason for this behaviour is purely because buyers from the open or traditional markets tend to make instant payment for deliveries whereas those from the modern markets tend to defer payment to later dates. E-commerce has been introduced fairly into this market and there is an indication that it will play a significant role by 2050. Hotels, Restaurants, Industries mostly obtain their food supply from the open market. By 2050,most local indigenous food recipes made from fonio,cocoyam,beans,maize,cassava might be loss if conscious effort is not placed in creating local brand that focuses on processing,packaging and efficient distribution of local food products
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
Okumkom is a market entry stage brand within the local food distribution sector of Accra’s economy. We are in the process of building the best community local food distribution platform that brings convenience and affordable locally sourced and processed food to homes in semi-urban communities and rural. We connect food products sourced from rural farmers and agric-business startups for sale at affordable prices through an android mobile application and a community food retail store. As a centralized platform,we are able to promote and connect healthy and traceable food products to our consumers. Our vision to address the challenge as a community local food distribution and retail brand is to become the preferred choice of local food grocery shopping for low income and middle semi-urban communities within ten years of operations. We seek to achieve this through the following objectives: 1.By using our mobile application platform and community food store to provide healthy affordable food retail whiles mitigating the bottleneck and food wastes along the supply chain which results in food retail prices becoming high in Accra. 2.To meet the demand for food retailing services anytime and anywhere in Accra and Ghana. 3.Make it possible for developing communities within semi-urban areas to have accessibility to local food. 4.Create an indigenous food distribution platform for local agro-processing firms to connect their products to the community. 5.Research and create indigenous easy to make,healthy and affordable local packaged food products for our target. Our product/services is a mobile platform that simplify the way l food products are bought in semi urban and rural communities. It is a community-based, mobile app,website and food retail outlet p that facilitates the search and purchasing of local food products. We also offer delivery option to our customers. 2.1. Features of our mobile app/web platform are: •The mobile application displays our listed products, deals and events in a list format, with the current/most recent ranked first. •Users are able to learn the start and end time of a deal, the degree of discount, and location. Deals may be filtered by: product type (prepared food or groceries), degree of discount, and payment options. •The application settings allows users to receive personalized notifications when we offer a product they are interested in as a discount deal. •We are able to create, update, and remove their deal/event listings on a separate mobile friendly website. The website will display usage statistics such as the number of listing views to understand the level of consumer response. Features of our community food outlets. This are selected and innovative designed outlets where our target markets easily pick up products that ordered from our platform. This outlets connects food products sourced from rural farmers and serves as the point of collecting surveys on the choice of community
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
With this vision in place,we would have an Accra where food supply would be affordable and consumers would have choice of healthy nutritions through our brand. The bottlenecks of consumers having to spend more time and resources on weekends to purchase food at traditional markets would be reduced whiles enabling agric processing startups within and outside of Accra to have a readily available platform for distribution of their food products to consumers. School children within Accra through our platform would have a more healthier and variance in their choice of meal at school. Through our continous research into formulating,packaging and distribution of our own local food brand such as fonio,millet,cowpea,etc,this would ensure indigenous local Ghanaian healthy recipes would be maintained among the diets of Accra's population. Okumkom Mobile App and Community Discount stores as a brand evolved out of our continuous interactions and advocacy for the need to reduce food waste within Ghana’s food supply chain. Before starting an NGO, Food for All Africa in 2013, our co-founder worked as a professional chef with hotels and restaurants within Ghana and as a chef with over 8 years working experience dealt with food ingredient suppliers regularly and most times had to depend on the supermarkets for products when supplies doesn’t arrive on time. Moving on to start Food for All Africa, an NGO that creates efficient and sustainable means of nutrition for low income children, aged and vulnerable communities through food recovery and redistribution.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Sharing the challenges and impact of food waste in Ghana