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The Fiji Times » Bid to build an e-commerce platform for local market

Food Well Fiji has become a platform for many customers over the past months during this pandemic to access fresh…

By Staff , in Ecommerce Marketing , at August 27, 2021

Food Well Fiji has become a platform for many customers over the past months during this pandemic to access fresh produce and an opportunity for market vendors to access people confined to their homes.

According to founder and director Salote Maiwiriwiri they have worked in partnership with e-commerce platforms such as Bula Market whereas Shop Fiji Online is in the process of launching their store as well.

“We are in conversation with other e-platform that suits our needs as a small medium enterprise.

“In fact, they (customers) can order through the phone or whatever means they can connect to us because the e-commerce ordering online is very new to our people.

“That’s what we noticed and we literally had to coach a lot of our customers.”

She added they had been generating a train of economic activities during this time.

“We try to encourage our customers to buy packs because that allows us to reach a wider range of suppliers.

“So like for our Father’s Day pack, there’s about six or eight items inside, that represents eight communities who will be lifted as each customer buys a pack.

“We are running it like a business, but it’s more on the social enterprise end of the spectrum.”

Ms Maiwiriwiri said they were buying directly from the farmers most of the time however when a certain produce was not available, then they utilised the market vendors, the middlemen, and anyone else who had the produce.

She said they had entered into a partnership with UN Women and were trial running a three month pilot program to build an e-commerce platform for the local market.

“So we work in partnership with our market vendors.

“We run our own business, but instead of us getting a stock for the next three months, we use the stock from the market so that the market vendors are also selling what they have.

“And so UN Women requested that we work in partnership, and we saw it as a platform to provide greater access for families to nature, fresh food.

“It’s a non-financial agreement so that means I run it independently while trying to test run whether this will work for market vendors,” she said.

Ms Maiwiriwiri said recently orders had declined through their platform as people were receiving money and were on the move or coming out of isolation.

“But otherwise, most of the customers that we really serve now, are the elderly persons with disability, new moms and people in isolation.

“I’m sure with the relationship that we have developed with our customers it will pick up again because we have to realise that these people have been indoors for a long time, they will need to go out.

“And of course, that’s where we are fine tuning our procedures, or maybe the opportunities for us to get into export and focus on the Food Well Bank, side of our vision.”

Ms Maiwiriwiri said they were trying to turn something which they would like to apply into the regional countries in the Pacific so that when one market goes down they still wanted their 82 farmers and fishermen to have a source of income.

According to the director majority of their customers were based overseas.

“It was the overseas family supporting local families, so we do a lot of surprise basket, donations, from overseas relatives which has been a bigger plus and for us that continues to increase.”

Ms Maiwiriwiri said if customers needed fresh food which Fiji had to offer then they could get in touch with Food Well Fiji and they would bring it to their homes.

“I would like every Fijian to know that there is nutritious food enough to keep the body healthy at any time of our life.

“We have the resources, and what I would like to happen eventually, is that we come up with a natural resources policy that evens out the platform for everyone, whether you have on land or not.

“You are entitled to your specific land size so that you can sustain your family, all throughout.

“I think the problem that I’m seeing in our food security is this land, who owns the land.

“The whole fight about the land is just ridiculous when it comes to food security and that’s something that’s an initiative I’d like to drive to help people realise that those resources are there for every family that choose to live
here in Fiji.”

Food Well Fiji at the moment was delivering food around the Suva and Nausori area because of the restrictions in place.

“When we fi rst started we were just serving Viti Levu but with the borders in place we controlled that in containment area and we’re slowly opening up into the Navua, Nadi and Lautoka in probably next month.

“We post all our supplies through our Facebook page, and I share it on all the community pages and we invite people to message us their delivery address phone number along with their confirmed order,” she said.

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