Barry Callebaut offers support to startup Seekewa to help increase farmer incomes in Africa

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Fred Zamblé and members of the Seekewa team. Pic: Seekewa
Fred Zamblé and members of the Seekewa team. Pic: Seekewa

Related tags Barry callebaut Côte d'ivoire

Barry Callebaut has announced it is working with award winning startup Seekewa on a pilot project to increase and diversify the incomes of farmers on the Cocoa Horizons programme.

Developed by brothers Serge and Fred Zamblé, Seekewa is an innovative digital community platform that allows people and organisations 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 – Barry Callebaut said it is collaborating with Seekewa to build a brighter future for Cocoa Horizons’ farmers.

Technology and expertise 

For their joint pilot project, the Cocoa Horizons’ programme is providing funding and a pool of beneficiary farmers along with business mentorship and advice. While Seekewa is using its 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.

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​,” said Fred Zamblé, CEO & co-founder of Seekewa.

The Zamblé brothers said they 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.

Everybody Wins

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.

They said 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 programme.

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​,” said Evelyn Nassar, Director of Cocoa Horizons.

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