Dropee partners with Ministry of Agriculture to help farmers & fishermen
By Kiran Kaur Sidhu June 11, 2020
- 23,000 farmers across Malaysia saw a significant 40% drop in sales during MCO
- Middlemen enabled by using platform to connect directly to farmers, fishermen
Malaysia’s agribusiness sector has faced huge challenges following the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic, which has affected business operations across the supply chain including the production, distribution and retailing of agricultural products and the food industry.
In response to this, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) is partnering with Dropee to ensure that the distribution of food (such as rice, meat, fish, vegetables, and fruits) across Malaysia is stable and adequate throughout the Covid-19 period. “It took us less than 6 weeks to complete the deal. The ministry has been proactively working on this partnership and they acted swiftly to help the market,” said cofounder and chief executive officer of Dropee, Lennise Ng (pic, right).
“We are very excited to partner with the Ministry of Agriculture to help transition Malaysia’s food production and distribution businesses online. Since 2017, we’ve been helping many businesses across Malaysia to digitally sell their products in bulk. My team and I are confident to take on this mission in successfully helping our nation’s farmers, fishermen and suppliers to go-digital,” she adds.
Dropee’s B2B eCommerce marketplace allows producers across the country to continue selling their produce to wholesalers, retailers and consumers during the Covid period. The initiative with the MOA provides an alternative sales channel for these producers and suppliers to sell their products online in bulk. Through Dropee’s platform, sellers are also able to access logistics, financing, and insurance support from Dropee key partners.
How Dropee empowers farmers and fishermen
Dropee’s goal is to eventually help all 90,000 farmers and fishermen in Malaysia to leverage its B2B marketplace to sell their products, manage the demand from their customers and understand purchasing trends to produce more relevant products for the consumer market.
Since the start of MCO, the MOA has tracked sales updates from 23,000 farmers across Malaysia showing a significant 40% drop in sales. “They're unable to sell faster (and in bulk) before their fresh produce expires. The main reason for this is because many of the farmers' distributors and wholesalers did not have any license to operate during the MCO period - hence, causing a significant reduction in demand. On top of that, these farmers do not have access to sell directly to any retail shops.”
That was then. With Dropee, Lennise claims the 23,000 farmers are able to increase sales volume by between 30%-40%, selling to operating wholesalers, distributors and retail businesses in bulk. Other than being a platform to list their produce, Dropee’s team provides hands-on guidance to suppliers from setting up their online B2B store to marketing their products.
“We worked with many traditional businesses and helped them go from offline to online. From our years of experience, we understand that many of these producers and suppliers need our help and guidance on the technical know-how to bring their businesses online. That’s why we’ve crafted out a very detailed and easy-to-follow guide for them,” said cofounder and managing director of Dropee, Aizat Rahim (pic, left).
Whether this initiative will eliminate the traditional middleman, Lennise clarifies: “No, it means the traditional middlemen are more enabled by using the platform to connect directly to farmers and fishermen across the nation. Dropee's guiding principle since the beginning is to empower, rather than replacing, existing intermediaries.”
She emphasises that Dropee wants to enable all players across the value chain to transact and distribute produce faster, easier and simpler by solving the search for the right sellers and buyers, payment collection hassle, inefficient inventory management and working capital limitations.
LokalKita on Dropee to showcase local produce
The official launch of this initiative is targeted to be on the 15th of June 2020 by the MOA. With that said, Dropee has already soft-launched the project and engaged with hundreds of farmers and fishermen across Malaysia to prepare them. During this preparation, producers and suppliers will go through an induction process to get educated on the changes that will happen to their business operations and marketing when they go online.
As for digital literacy and connectivity issues, Dropee addresses these by providing full operational assistance in setting up online stores and notifications via SMS or Whatsapp when receiving orders.
For this initiative, a special section in Dropee’s marketplace, called LokalKita, will be set up to highlight the products from our nation’s farmers and fishermen. With ‘LokalKita’, Dropee aims to showcase all of Malaysia’s local produce that buyers can directly purchase from.
As part of the global and highly regerded Y-Combinator and Alibaba’s eFounders Fellowship Programme, Dropee aims to help businesses across Southeast Asia to digitally transform and adapt towards the new economy - in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The main objective of this go-digital initiative is to help producers and suppliers maintain a stable distribution of food supplies and access to safe, quality, and affordable produce for all communities in Malaysia.