The internet is quickly changing the face of commerce in The Gambia. With a young population – a huge number of them tech savvy and well-connected to internet through smart phones, more and more people are opting for electronic commerce or e-commerce as it delivers a comprehensive range of benefits to retailers and merchants.
Today, the number of consumers and producers purchasing and selling products or services through electronic systems like computer networks and the Internet is growing.
Modou Njie, the CEO of Farm Fresh, has 20 years of ICT experience. Having worked with the UNDP, Deloitte, Reliance and GT BANK at managerial levels, he set up the Gambia’s first online food store in 2013 thanks to his passion for agriculture. Four years later, he set up the Gambia’s first agric tech crowd-funding platform to help connect farmers with investors from the Diaspora.
“I saw a big vacuum in the e-business market and took advantage of it even though it was not so popular when I first started. Due to my good background in ICT and having worked as IT Manager for some banks in The Gambia, I felt I could leverage on my experience to promote e-commerce in The Gambia.”
At the embryonic stage, he faced challenges including the lack of financial support due to high interest rates from banks in order to secure. But such challenges did not put Njie off.
Thanks to Farm Fresh, customers can now it in the comfort of their home and order fresh fruits, vegetables or other local products and have them delivered at their door step.
As part of strategies to attract more customers, shopping at farmfresh.gm offers loyalty points which can be later redeemed and order on the site for free using just your loyalty points (similar to acquiring miles in the airline industry).
After a successful venture in The Gambia, Njie just registered Farm Fresh in Rwanda, hoping to start operations there in the coming months. His ambition is to operate Farm Fresh in at least three other countries within the next 5 years.
The key to Njie’s successful journey with Farm Fresh is patience. “It requires great sacrifice and patience and it will be very rewarding in the end.”
Bianka Griffith, the CEO of Terangas says “one of the great things about e-commerce is that it saves you time, and because everybody is so busy with so many responsibilities in their day-to-day lives and if it takes you an hour to go to the shop, that’s an hour that you can’t spend with your family, studying or working, so you are losing time which is worth so much.”
Terangas started in 2017 as an e-commerce provider of grocery items, as well as electronics, where users can buy from anywhere with delivery in Gambia.
According to Bianka, the business eases the burden of going round shops, browsing for different prices for different products.
“We have thousands of products from dozens of different suppliers as well as some products that we bring in directly to be able to offer to our customers.”
The Gambia, like most African countries has low internet penetration with many people not owning computers. But at Terangas, Bianka provides free internet access for customers who want to come in and browse the net and purchase goods.
“Our goal is to be accessible and affordable. So we try to be consistent with market prices and sometimes even less than market price.”