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Farm Direct

Virtual Store allows consumers to buy directly from farmers

FarmDirect (www.farmdirect.africa), a new marketing platform for agricultural produce, will now allow farmers to market their farm produce directly to consumers. A collaborative effort between Media24’s farming brand Landbouweekblad, agricultural software company Agrista, and OENA Group, the new platform allows farmers to not only list their produce, but also provides them with the opportunity to tell the unique story of their farms.

“For many, food goes about an experience,” Jaco Badenhorst, head of OENA Group and a farmer himself, explains. “Consumers want to know where their food comes from, who produces it, and how it’s produced. Now farmers have the opportunity to do just that!”

Farmers can register their farms for free on the web-based platform. As an additional service, for a nom- inal fee, farmers can load their produce and will now also be able to enlist the professional media skills of Landbouweekblad to hone their profile and products. “Landbouweekblad is the only media farming brand in the world with two food magazines. Our Boerekos magazine is the highest selling food magazine in the country, and our inaugural issue of Country Cooking will hit the shelves later in the year,” says Chris Bur- gess, Landbouweekblad’s editor-in-chief. “We understand food, and what excites people about authentic farming products. We would like to use that expertise to help farmers sell their wonderful products, and consumers to have access to unique farming products not readily available on supermarket shelves.”

Supported by Agrista’s world-class German software, the FarmDirect platform allows consumers to browse products and listed farms, as well as place orders for delivery. “We want to provide farmers with a sound business proposition. We don’t only connect farmers directly with consumers based on their location, we also provide the functionality for orders to be placed directly on the site,” explains Helmut Drewes, Agris- ta’s CEO. “We have all grown up on farms and are acutely aware of the difficulties farmers have in selling directly to consumers.”

“With 169 farmers and more than 400 products already listed on FarmDirect, the platform has already proven popular with farmers,” adds Jaco. FarmDirect is also piloting a home-delivery system in the Western Cape, that in time will be rolled out countrywide. “Farm produce will be sent to a central warehouse, from where consumers will be able to buy a basket of goods. The last-mile fulfilment will be undertaken by one of our trusted partners,” Jaco points out.

“US President John F Kennedy once remarked that farmers are the only players in the economy who buy at retail prices, sell at wholesale prices, and pay the freight both ways,” concludes Chris. “We hope to change that with FarmDirect, by putting some of our most spectacular farming products on dinner tables across the country.”

For more information contact Landbouweekblad publisher

Theuns Venter at theuns.venter@media24.com, or visit FarmDirect at www.farmdirect.africa

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