Wits postgraduate student launches Farmers Market Online business

Postgraduate accounting student, with the help of a co-founder, established a vibrant fruit and vegetable delivery business in early February after he lost his bursary.

Andzani Mabunda co-founded Farmers Market Online, launching the business after he saw a gap in the market where students did not have the money or time to go and buy fruit and vegetables.

Mabunda told Wits Vuvuzela he needed money in order to further his studies.
“My books cost R6 900 in total, and that situation led to the birth of Farmers Market Online,” he said.

“Farmers Market Online not only helped with funding my studies, it also helped my business partner and co-founder, Arnold Rikhotso, to register,” said Mabunda.

Although the majority of their customers are students, there is no specific target market for the business and it caters for everybody.

Mabunda delivers to Braamfontein, Auckland Park, Parktown, Midrand and Pretoria.

“These are areas that are exceedingly populated with students from various universities, hence that is where we receive the majority of orders,” he said. Bachelor of Arts student Lwazilwaphesheya Khoza, who has ordered from Farmers Market, told Wits Vuvuzela it was “a very necessary service that is granted to us students and it also supports the informal trade of fruits and veggies, which is very good”.

The 22-year-old said, “They’re cheap, affordable and convenient. Their vegetables and fruits are also fresh, which is amazing.”
“We wanted to provide our customers with convenience, hence we chose to deliver door-to-door,” Mabunda told Wits Vuvuzela.

Rosebank College student Arthur Mpotulo, who also buys from Farmers Market Online, said the only problem he had was his package not arriving on time.
“I was a bit irritated by the fact that I ordered my package on Friday for Sunday, and that Sunday they told me they could deliver only on Monday,” Mpotulo told Wits Vuvuzela.

The 23-year-old said the Farmers Market is convenient and reasonable.
“I am a student in Braamfontein and the grocery stores here are very expensive for students and (through Farmers Market) I avoid being in long queues and paying for transport,” he said.

Mabunda said they had competitors, but that did not affect their business model.
“Our competitors are differentiators, while we are price leaders,” he said. “Our competitors have expensive packaging, whereas we completely eliminated packaging, so they don’t challenge us that much.”

Farmers Market Online mostly rakes in money towards the end of the month “when students get their stipends – that is when we make the most money”, said Mabunda.

Farmers Market Online relies on word of mouth to market the business, simply because students have the most influence over how it matures and accumulates profit.

FEATURED IMAGE: Packages of the fruits and veggies going out for delivery. Photo: Lwandile Shange