The problems brought about by the lockdown or quarantine policies in the different locations include unemployment due to the closing down of some businesses in the service sector, increase in crop wastage due to uncertain and lower demand for fresh produce, rising cost of fresh produce in cities and increase in the delivery cost of products due to increase in demand.
To address these problems with one solution, a local-for-local for production and distribution can be set-up. How does this work?
Let us first look at the supply or production side. The pandemic has caused many service industry businesses to close down and citizens losing their jobs. But this doesn’t stop individual households and these people whose employment were affected by the pandemic to generate extra income. A good way to generate a local-for-local marketplace provides intelligent recommendations to sellers on what the buyers wants within his or her area. So that the suppliers don’t overproduce and the buyers are not overcharged for fulfilment services and delivery cost.
You might argue at this point that there are large e-commerce businesses who have scale and has been in the business for long. But in my opinion, because they are so large, they present a lot of inefficiencies that render the consumers to pay more for the product because of the high delivery cost. As an actual example, there was an instance when the seller and the buyer are just located near each other but it is not immediately visible in the platform so what happens is that instead of an on-the-day, even few hours delivery of the product, it took 3 days for the package to arrive since it has to go through the fulfillment centers of these e-commerce giants first before going to the customers. So not only did the arrival of the product took long, the price for delivery also increased.
In this case, a local-for-local marketplace would the good for both the sellers and the buyers of the products.
For the case of fresh produce, I’ve mentioned earlier that because of the uncertainty and reduction of demand, a significant amount of fresh produce has been wasted from farms. A good alternative that is still aligned to this local-for-local concept is that production of this fresh produce should be taken within your neighborhood as well. If you say you live in the cities, there are a lot of models that can utilize rooftops as a place to grow produce using hydroponics. Not only will you have a source of fresh produce on your own, you can also put the extra fresh produce that you have grown in your homes in the local-for-local marketplace. In this way, you earn an additional income from the sales, you help the environment, you can easily deliver to the buyers at a much lower cost and in a much faster delivery lead time as your customer is just within close proximity to your location. Hence, it is a win-win situation for both the urban fresh produce grower and the buyer.