EcoFarmer Allegedly Offering Fresh In A Box-Like Service To Their Employees

If you browse through social media, you’ll be surprised at how much hate Econet gets. The hate part isn’t really surprising. What’s surprising is through all those complaints, Econet remains the largest mobile network operator by a longshot.

One of the complaints that is brought up time and time again is the claim that Econet steals ideas from local entrepreneurs. Allegedly they then run with these ideas without involving said entrepreneurs.

Browsing through Twitter this morning, I can’t help but feel this will be one of the trending conversations once again. In a series of now-deleted tweets, Vendor In Chief at Fresh In A Box (Kuda Msasiwa) expressed disappointment in EcoFarmer offering a product very similar to the one offered by Fresh In A Box.


If you’re not upto speed with Fresh In A Box, the company delivers fresh vegetables to your doorstep and they’ve grown significantly since launching last year.

It’s not yet clear how/when EcoFarmer started working on this product but it seems there might be pushing it to their staff members (maybe as a test run before they go national).

Cassava Smartech are denying that they copied Fresh in a box. Some commentators are also saying EcoFarmer has been working on something like this for at least a year now.

The flyer shared on Twitter

Here are some of the reactions in reply to Musasiwa’s tweet:

It seems the main reason why people get pissed off when something like this happens is not because of competition to the local entrepreneurs but because Strive Masiyiwa the head of Econet Global is a champion of entrepreneurship. The public has come to expect that his companies would want to work with these entrepreneurs coming up with ideas and not replicate them and consequently put them out of business.

The only problem with that thinking, however, is that it’s a result of expectation and something not kategorikali stated by Econet so I foresee many more such incidents occurring down the line.

I do hope that Fresh In A Box is the David to Cassava Smartech’s Goliath, but if EcoFarmer does actually pursue this path, may the most efficient business win…

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12 thoughts on “EcoFarmer Allegedly Offering Fresh In A Box-Like Service To Their Employees

  1. Thank you very much for stating this line in your article, “The only problem with that thinking, however, is that it’s a result of expectation and something not kategorikali stated by Econet so I foresee many more such incidents occurring down the line.” Zimbos should not think that a big organisation steals ideas. What Fresh in a box should have done is partner farmers, vendprs retailers and investors (Econet included and the government #command agriculture) but he did not.

    Econet is going to do that. Fresh in a box is aimed at people North of Samora and it is very worrying. Fresh in a box is something like for the elite. I personally do vegetables but i did not go the digital way, i still do the traditional way and it is working for me with buyers ranging from vendors, retailers, supermarkets and farmers who give me their produce for me to sell for a small commission.

    There are big companies which are into fresh vegetables and when i started i knew about it. So if The big player comes to me for a partnership i will definitely join in becoz they will have other players i can mix with to grow my business.

    Bottom line Fresh in A Box should find a way or a partner to get ahead of their competition in the digital space because not all of us are into digital selling of vegetables.

    1. You make some valid points, would love to understand why you are worried about fresh in a box’s target market though? That could change as their scale grows could it not?

  2. but this is not idea theft. Fresh in a box might have started the service first in zimbabwe but it had already been implemented in other countries years ago. so who’s to say ecofarmer stole from fresh in a box. there are hundreds of companies outside zim offering these services.thats just my thought. The role of fresh in a box was just proving there actually is a market available for those type of services.

    1. Yeah that’s true. But this will fit very well into the rage culture of today and people will day the idea was stolen…

  3. Ideas get “stolen” all the time, it’s fair game most of the time. That’s what’s called competition. If they are competitive, Fresh in a Box has nothing worry about. You can’t honestly believe that since you started a concept, you are now the emperor of that domain and all must seek your partnership or permission to enter it. That doesn’t work! Appreciatedly, when you copy an idea without full knowledge of it’s mechanics, you are likely to fail. But, it doesn’t guarantee failure, Econet can afford to stumble and fall till they get the mechanics right.

    The problem I have with Econet is when they are approached with an idea, then they reject it for whatever reason, only to come up with their own similar product later. Especially when the idea requires an MNO for its success. That’s grossly unfair and could be called true theft.

    1. usadarooo.. thats why kune competition council. if econet continues to venture in every industry you will see kuti no employment is created, no new companies are created. cassva same developers are the ones building all these platforms. Why vanhu musinagone kuti dreams are being killed by econet yet u think its competition??? its not fair competitiion. Imagine if gvt was to sell vegitables kumbare musika moti thats competition? how mahy people will become unemployed..musanyepedzere kupusa pliz

  4. when cassava started vaya no one said they stole it from uber or anything
    pple order fruits, pple order vegs, pple order chicken inn, pple order pizza

    more players in the game

    1. thats nonsense… saka Econet should sale vegetables ku mbare msika? how many people will become unemployed?? dont be silly, be sensitive and understand that this is not fair competition.. next time uchingoti more players more players hama dzako are not going to find jobs becoz one company is doing literally everything with the same developers under cassava..

  5. If a company doesn’t have something that is proprietary that makes it defensible against potential competitors, then its success will lead to its downfall.

    What do I mean by that? Without a moat, the company’s success is easily replicable. The more success it has, the more competitors it will attract. But if it has a secret sauce — which could include technology, processes, knowledge, relationships, etc. — its odds of sustained growth are far greater. And while first-mover advantage is helpful in the early stages, it usually doesn’t mean much in the long run

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