Tanzania : Elia Timotheo reduces post-havest losses with EA Fruits

By : Melchior Koba

Date : vendredi, 25 novembre 2022 12:06

The trained accountant chose to venture into the agritech sector by developing an e-commerce platform that sells fresh fruits and vegetables. The venture has already earned him local and international recognition.

Elia Timotheo (photo) is a Certified Professional Accountant who graduated from the Tanzanian National Board of Accountants and Auditors (NBAA) in 2018. He is also the founder and CEO of East Africa (EA) Fruits Co. a food distribution company that aims mission to improve the lives of tens of thousands of Tanzanian farmers and small businesses.

EA Fruits, which was launched in 2013,  wants to reduce post-harvest losses by collecting, processing, storing -thanks to cold chain technologies when needed- and distributing agricultural products.  On its online platform, the company markets all types of food, from cereals to fresh fruits and vegetables...

Roughly half of what farmers produce never reaches the market, and this loss is spread out across the farm-to-market value chain. First, farmers may lack the knowledge and training to properly care for their farms, produce and harvests, resulting in 20 to 25 percent of losses. Second, farmers sell produce to brokers who use inappropriate vehicles to transport perishable produce, leading to another 10 percent of losses. Lastly, in the market, it’s very difficult to sell all the produce in one day or even two, yet there are no storage facilities for a truckload of produce that just spent days travelling hundreds of miles in inadequate conditions. All this results in severe losses for farmers who fail to reap the fruits of their hard work,” Elias said in 2020 while explaining the rationale behind the creation of EA Fruits.

To change this, East Africa Fruits establishes a relationship with smallholder farmers and provides training, food processing, storage and market access using cold-storage transportation. This process extends the shelf-life of produce and reduces post-harvest losses,” he added.

Since 2008, the trained accountant is a member of the advisory board of Changbay Sonic Hotels in Tanzania. In 2013, he co-founded the processing and distribution company AMEJ Investment Limited. Three years earlier, he had co-founded 7 Stars Computers Limited, an “affordable” computer marketing firm when he “realized that computers and laptops had vital importance to college students and they would not afford to buy by then.”  

The serial entrepreneur kicked off his professional career, in 2010, by joining the foreign exchange bureau Kibo Palace Group as an exchange manager, sales assistant, and customer relations officier. In December 2011, he worked for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Cooperatives as a field representative. Some 12 months later, he joined the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs as a junior accountant.

Thanks to EA Fruits, he has received several awards and recognitions, including the African Entrepreneurship and the SEED Africa Awards in 2015. This year he was also one of the 50 finalists of Africa’s Business Heroes.

Melchior Koba


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