SA agritech unlocks wider revenue stream for farmers

Newly founded agritech startup, Nile has taken the agricultural industry by storm as it reportedly traded a whopping one million kilograms of fruit and vegetables via its online platform within a mere five weeks of launching. 

Nile is a new agritech startup that functions as an online trading marketplace between producers and commercial buyers

Founded in February 2020 by a dynamic and experienced trio, Louis de Kock, Eugene Roodt, and Rick Kleinhans, Nile is an agritech startup that connects vegetable and fruit producers directly with commercial buyers via an accessible online platform. 

The platform connects producers with commercial buyers from across South Africa and the continent. As a marketplace that facilitates trades, Nile has a cross-dock distribution hub in Johannesburg. 

In an interview with Ventureburn, Louis de Kock, founder of Nile provides insight into the aims of the agritech startup. 

“At Nile, we see a future where Africa’s producers can access the markets with the biggest need for their products. By integrating regional food systems, we aim to make nutritious food more accessible to consumers across the continent and beyond.”

How does it work

The platform allows wholesale buyers to view live prices and availability for a specific product or products from numerous producers. The agritech startup has created transparency and an easy-to-use marketplace that symbiotically benefits both producers and commercial buyers. 

An innovative solution

Nile’s business model functions to increase the revenue of income for farmers and to make fresh produce more accessible to consumers. 

The agritech startup has developed a functional digital ecosystem that solves issues relating to food trading, including price discovery, quality verification, payments, and logistics. 

 The local agritech startup business model has transformed the traditional method and process to ensure the shortest and most efficient route-to-market for fresh produce. This in turn reduces freight costs and food waste. In addition, the digitisation of the trading process reduces high transaction costs.

Nile reportedly charges farmers half the commission, between 12-15% commission at traditional markets. 

Technology

Adopting the model of an eCommerce marketplace, Nile has developed a platform that specifically caters to the produce industry. The platform caters to the industry in the following ways: 

  • The platform categorises specifics of fresh produce from ripeness, grade to the sizing which dictates the price at which produce can be sold and provides accurate information to potential buyers. 
  • Farmer packing schedule mimics the way farmers plan their weekly harvests. 

In addition, Nile has created a proprietary predictive pricing algorithm that accounts for high volatility in factors that drives pricing in the fresh produce industry. 

The algorithm is currently in the testing phase and has not been implemented as yet.

Other features on the agritech’s platform include the use of integrated credit extension. Payment between the producer and buyer can be made either prepaid or on a credit-basis and the payment is secured by the platform for both users. 

Future of Nile

The agritech startup plans to expand its offering to a range of other food products. 

Read more: City of Cape Town offers local businesses support 
Read more: New SA tech startup disrupts tradesmen employment landscape

Featured image: Founders of Nile (Supplied)

Ishani Chetty: Editor
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