State to tap Safaricom e-voucher tech in distribution of cheap food

Moses-kuria
Moses-kuria

Trade ministry will tap Safaricom’s e-voucher technology to expand the distribution of cheap imported food besides the three technology firms that had previously been selected.

Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria said distribution channels will be opened through the e-voucher across the country, tapping into the Safaricom platform that has proved successful with the distribution of fertiliser.

Under the programme, the CS said distributors will be issued with minimum orders that they can purchase, make payment online and get the goods.

“We are going to open a distribution channel for the supply of these goods using the e-voucher as we bank on its success from previous experience in the e-subsidy programme,” said Mr Kuria.

The government through the Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC) is importing a range of household foods under a Sh24 billion plan in a bid to ease the high cost of living.

KNTC had tapped tech firms Twiga Foods, iProcure and Market Force for distribution of these commodities initially but it is now expanding to have more distributors to procure directly from their stores through the online platform.

The CS said all distributors will be vetted under the Know Your Customer (KYC) to curb cases of fraud during the exercise.

“We shall have the details of who has taken what, the quantities and their location for ease of traceability,” said the CS.

The distribution of goods has already started with Twiga taking part in supplying some of the food through their platform.

“We are participating in the process and we are distributing some of the items under this programme, mainly the cooking oil,” said Mr Njonjo in an interview.

The State is set to call for distributors willing to take part in the process this week.

KNTC was allowed to import 150,000 tonnes of rice, 80,000 tonnes of beans, 200,000 tonnes of sugar, 25,000 tonnes of wheat and 125,000 tonnes of cooking oil to tame the current runaway prices of basic commodities.

KNTC, whose mandate is to participate in the promotion of wholesale or retail business and e-trade, said it had mapped shops across the country targeting vulnerable populations in low-income areas.

The agency has identified 500,000 kiosks but it will start with 120,000 as it targets selling to the households that are most affected and with low disposable incomes.

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