Barry Callebaut joins Seekewa’s agro revolution
Developed by brothers Serge and Fred Zamblé, Seekewa is an innovative digital community platform that allows people and organizations to support small farming projects. Their unique farm-to-table model combines refundable e-vouchers and crowdfunding to improve the lives of small farmers in rural Africa.
Connected by participation in MassChallenge – a worldwide accelerator for high-impact startups creating meaningful change – we are collaborating with Seekewa to build a brighter future for Cocoa Horizons’ farmers.
Serge and Fred Zamblé, brothers and co-founders of Seekewa, always dreamed of starting a social enterprise in Côte d'Ivoire. With backgrounds in finance and software engineering, they started out running a digital agency before an opportunity from a friend working at a VC firm in France led them to launch Seekewa.
Inspired by crowdfunding and an interest in healthy food and agriculture, Seekewa’s platform allows consumers to provide farmers with interest-free microloans. In return, they receive priority access and special discounts on the food produced.
The Seekewa team facilitates and oversees the process to make sure everybody wins. Farmers’ incomes are improved and consumers get healthy, fresh food straight from source at competitive prices.
For Fred, Serge and the Seekewa team, collaborating with us thanks to participation in MassChallenge has been a hugely valuable experience:
Working with Barry Callebaut was an obvious fit for us, they have operations in our country and social commitments that align with our own. Their mentorship has been incredible as well as the opportunity to work with such an open and trusting team.
For their joint pilot project, the Cocoa Horizons’ program is providing funding and a pool of beneficiary farmers along with business mentorship and advice. While Seekewa is using their technology and expertise to manage the projects from start to finish and secure a market for the crops produced by the Cocoa Horizons farmers in Côte d’Ivoire.
For any project that meets its productivity targets, Seekewa is committed to buying at least 90% of the crops, with a guaranteed minimum profit of 20% going to the farmers. The farmers have the option to keep the remaining 10% of the crops to feed their family and community, thereby improving local food security and ensuring varied nutrition.
The ultimate aim of the pilot is to test the Seekewa model, with the potential to be scaled-up to as many Cocoa Horizons farmers as possible in different countries. It is hoped the positive outcomes will empower Cocoa Horizons’ farmers and their communities, assure better use of allocated funds as well as strengthen their loyalty and commitment to the program.
Focus on income diversification is a key element of our strategy towards lifting farmers out of poverty. In Seekewa we saw an attractive model which we are interested in piloting, with the goal to support cocoa farmers in an efficient and sustainable way, while securing the take off of their non-cocoa crops.
Big future plans
The Seekewa team has big goals for the future. One day, they hope to be the largest marketplace for fresh foods in the world with consumers purchasing directly from farmers, providing the most enjoyable and impactful farm-to-table experience for the next-gen food systems. Their vision is one where everyone will know the origins of their food, all farmers will receive a fair income and no middle men will take a cut of the profit.
In the short term, Seekewa would like to develop a private, customized version of their platform for us and other companies. This will allow employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders to join their efforts to improve the living conditions and resilience of the beneficiaries in a sustainable way and work together to create a better future.