As more people in the Caribbean gravitate to e-commerce to earn a living and procure personal accoutrements, a St Lucian company today launched its virtual marketplace where locals can buy and sell fruits and vegetables.
FreshMarket Caribbean is a start-up that aims to support St Lucian producers and vendors by them connect with new customers through its “free and easy-to-use digital marketplace”.
“We have no commissions, we have no sign-up fees, and we have no advertisements. The proposition for farmers is that they can use the FreshTrade marketplace as just another channel to find customers. For buyers, FreshTrade is just a convenient way to shop for local fruits and vegetables and importantly, to build a relationship with local farmers,” the company states in a press release.
Furthermore, the company notes that Caribbean countries and territories import a significant amount of the foods consumed — an average of 60 – 80 per cent, according to a Caribbean Community study. The company posits, though, that St Lucia’s food import is higher than the average.
As a result of imports, farmers in the region are excluded from markets, finding it difficult to find consumers for their producers, and, therefore, have to throw away fruits and vegetables due to spoilage.
“The proposition for farmers is that they can use the FreshTrade marketplace as just another channel to find customers. For buyers, FreshTrade is just a convenient way to shop for local fruits and vegetables and importantly, to build a relationship with local farmers.”
“Even more surprising is that 50 cents of every 1 dollar earned by a farmer goes towards paying multiple middlemen like traders, wholesalers, transporters, and retailers,” FreshTrade Caribbean cites.
For this reason, the company has launched the virtual marketplace: “We’re bringing farmers and consumers closer together.”
The St Lucian company, however, admits that there are other platforms that provide the same services. Notwithstanding, it claims that the website that it has built is easy to use.
“Whenever you try something new, you’ll always encounter dozens of reasons why it won’t work. Building an agriculture marketplace is no different. Agriculture supply chains are some of the most complex of any industry,” the website creators noted.
“FreshTrade is very simple. If you’re looking for fresh fruits or vegetables; just log on, browse the listings, and place an order. If you’re interested in selling: log on, post a listing, and sell your product. That’s it. We’re super easy to use. Have a look at our instructional video and see for yourself,” the company said.