iFlora launches new online trade platform

Becoming an all inclusive system for every stakeholder in the floriculture industry. That is the aim of recently launched platform iFlora. "Basically it tries to reduce the link between the grower and buyer, who we believe are the two biggest stakeholders in the Floriculture industry, and offers direct interaction and transaction between them", explains Eric Njogu, founder of the platform.

The idea
Njogu came up with this idea a year ago with Edward Agg-Manning (Commercial Director at Greenlife Crop Protection Africa). At the time Njogu worked for Kenyan rose farm Sunland Roses as a Marketing & IT manager where his job was to look for new buyers. And that is where they saw a market gap and a real problem in the industry. "Farms are looking for more direct buyers and direct sales outside the auction", he says. "We had initially thought of creating a platform for every farm but we thought it would be better and more efficient if every grower, buyer, middleman and breeder was accommodated in one platform like an actual 'marketplace', where buyers have choice to buy from whomever they want based on quality, price, value and growers can sell to whomever they want as well."

So, over the last year, they worked on creating a platform with a computer scientist/system developer and a legal expert and launched it three months ago. The platform facilitates growers, buyers and traders on a fully digital procurement base. "But we do not handle any money or flowers, so we are not wholesalers, middlemen, or agents. Flowers move directly from the grower to the buyer and money directly from the buyer to the grower ensuring freshness and max vaselife on flowers while saving money for the buyer and on the other hand making the payment process efficient for the grower. iFlora offers quality assurance for both buyer and grower, online shipping, financial transaction management as well as seeking to bring growers closer and closer to the consumer base. iFlora also offers internal marketing services within the international floriculture industry. "

How does it work?
So, how does it work? "iFlora directly connects growers and buyers by the digital platform that allows them to transact strictly between themselves. Growers on the platform upload their products and directly access a ready market of buyers on the iFlora platform, while buyers on the platform directly access multiple Growers and their products, and have the freedom to buy different varieties from different Growers. Important to notice is that iFlora does not charge any commission or transaction fees from either the growers or the buyers on any transaction made through the iFlora platform."

Edward Agg-Manning, Jane Ngige of Kenya Flower Council and Erick Njogu. iFlora is also associate partners of the Kenya Flower Council. "The partnership between the flower council and iFlora will allow the vision of a value addition mandate to be realized."

Business model
If no commissions or transaction fees are charged, how does iFlora earn money? "There is an annual subscription fee for using the platform, we offer spots for advertisements and we are in mutually beneficial partnership with a freight company that exclusively handles all the flowers sold/bought on the platform. But in the end, it's not just about the money. We are simply trying to create an efficient and inclusive system", says Njogu.

Bright future ahead
Currently, the platform has 18 users and Njogu is very pleased with the reactions so far. "The response is overwhelming. We can only look forward to the future and keep improving the system to make it as we said 'an all inclusive system for every stakeholder in the Floriculture industry'."

Interest in the iFlora platform? They will be present at the IFTF, that will be held from November 8-10 in Vijfhuizen, the Netherlands, and can be visited at booth C1.36.

For more information
Email: info@iflora.biz

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