Flora PIERA Enterprises – Partnerships for Growth

Ngaatendwe Murimba is the managing director of Flora Piera, a fresh produce supply company, established in August 2018. An Agronomist by training, Ngaatendwe has always had a passion for smallholder farming. Inspired by the numerous challenges and faced by smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe, Ngaatendwe occasionally quizzed himself over the role he had to play in the smallholder farming value chain.

“We are a marketers and distributors of fresh fruit and vegetables, servicing commercial kitchens. We supply high end restaurants, golf courses and hotels in Harare, Kadoma, Bulawayo ,Hwange and Victoria Falls – explains Ngaatendwe Murimba , managing director at Flora Piera

“I have always had a passion for smallholder farming, and I have always dreamt of the day I see myself as African Smallholder farmer,” remembers Ngaatendwe.

Along the way, Ngaa decided to become a smallholder farmer and to understand the business better. Within 2 months, Ngaatendwe had grown his lettuce production from 400 to 21 000 heads which he supplied to value chains around Harare.

“As a smallholder farmer, my target market was chain stores, but I soon realised that the market for fresh fruit and vegetables was much bigger than I had imagined.” – says  Ngaatendwe

A smallholder lettuce farmer, Ngaatendwe soon learnt that wholesalers preferred suppliers who could provide a variety of fruit and vegetables and not just the lettuce he had to over.

“I realised that the problem is there are too many farmers who are not coordinating , they don’t know which crop to grow, which market to penetrate and are thus unable to fully exploit the market”, adds Ngaatendwe.

From growing and supplying lettuce to supermarkets, Ngaa diversified to include a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, sourced from other smallholder farmers and began catering for a wider market. The commodity breaking model proved profit, and Ngaatendwe began to help other smallholders to market their produce.

“I knew I was onto something, and invited two partners to join me in August 2018. Flora Piera has been growing since, and now we are supplying larger commercial kitchens with a pool of 200 smallholder farmers and we also have 15-20 aggregates” – explains Ngaatendwe.

Impacting communities, changing lives.

Determined to enable smallholder farmers to establish commercial markets for their produce and derive value for their work, Flora Piera emerged. Flora Piera has made an impact as an off taker for smallholder growers. The business tackles the barriers smallholder farmers face in accessing the market, enabling the smallholder farmer to profit from their produce. The team prioritizes smallholder growers who are mostly rural and pre-urban farmers.

“Buying from smallholders, Flora Piera also extends agronomy information to smallholder farmers in our pool. We know what the market needs in any given point in time. Through partnerships with agronomists, we distribute this information to smallholder farmers. The sky is the limit for the smallholder farmer.” – concludes Ngaatendwe.

Although Flora Piera is a small business, with plans to expand and improve its operations, the company is definitely one to look out for in the up coming years.

If you want to learn more about Flora Piera, please check their official web page, and their Facebook page.

Photo credits: Christine Juta

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