DiMuto’s technology gives more visibility and traceability of end-to-end supply chain as fruits and vegetables move from farm to table
Aleta Planet’s B2B payment system allows importers and exporters to make and receive payments seamlessly, speedily and at lower cost
Aleta Planet’s parent, Asia Capital Pioneers Group, looking to step up trade financing for agrifood industry
Two Singapore companies, DiMuto, an agrifood solutions platform, and Aleta Planet, a fintech focused on cross-border payments, have teamed up to tackle supply chain inefficiencies that have led to gross wastage and lack of access to financing in the global trading of perishable food products.
DiMuto’s proprietary digital asset creation technology (Dacky) allows a whole host of supply chain partners to have more visibility and traceability of the end-to-end process as perishable produce like fruits and vegetables, move from farm to table.
Dacky uses QR labels and images to tack each fruit and carton so that everyone in the supply chain including farmers, packers, logistics and shipping companies, distributors and retailers, are armed with enough data and images to smoothen out the trades, minimising wastage and disputes.
Its Dacky platform, launched two years ago, is already in use in 17 different countries, from China to Colombia, and tracks more than 800 million fruits worth US$100 million.
Gary Loh, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of DiMuto, said: “To change the world, you need to see the world, down to every single product, every single service and every single transaction.”
Mr Loh, whose family is behind publicly-listed SunMoon Food Company, added: “From decades of being in the global fruit trading business, we have first-hand experience of the myriad of problems that arise when partners in a long supply chain lack the information they need to do their job better.”
He explained that the global trade in perishable produce is complicated by a “messy middle” that facilitates the flow of goods from the sellers, usually the farmers or big corporations that own farms, to buyers, the retail chains that sell to food establishments and households. Compounding this broad base of middlemen is the labour-intensive nature of many parts of the supply chain.
Citing examples, Mr Loh said when farmers send their produce to be packed and distributed locally or overseas, the packers are often not told where the cartons are headed as the packing and distributing companies could be separately owned and distantly located. “If the packers have the information, they will, for instance, pack less ripe fruits for cartons destined for overseas markets, otherwise by the time the produce comes to us or the supermarkets that buy them, it’s too late or too complicated to lodge a protest.”
DiMuto’s Dacky uses technologies like blockchain, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, to generate, analyse and present data and images on a single platform; data on harvest, food sources, safety compliance, payments, carbon emissions etc, as well as images of fruit quality pre-and-post shipment.
For example, with Dacky, a buyer in Asia of apples shipped from California will be able to verify the quality of the fruits from images uploaded to the platform before they are packed, and receive advance warning of any delays in delivery. The seller, on the other hand, can see the produce when the carton is opened at the receiving end. By giving more visibility and traceability, Dacky helps to minimise food wastage and disputes among supply chain partners.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that 30-40 percent of total food production can be lost before it reaches the market, due to problems ranging from improper use of inputs to a lack of proper post-harvest storage, processing or transportation facilities. These losses can be as high as 40-50 percent for root crops, fruits and vegetables.
Ryan Gwee, Founder and Group Chairman of Aleta Planet, said the lack of visibility and traceability is a key reason why many players in the global agrifood industry have limited access to bank financing. “Some 40% of trade finance applications by SMEs are rejected. Banks are not rushing into this sector and with the collapse of Hin Leong and other commodity traders, they are pulling back big time on trade finance.”
He added: “Perishable produce don’t make good collaterals to start with, and if bankers don’t have high visibility of the process and the documentation, it’s difficult for them to justify lending. Without financing, many of the SMEs involved in the agrifood trade are unable to scale.”
Mr Gwee said that by helping ecosystem partners to trace the goods flow and minimise wastage, DiMuto’s Dacky is making the food trade more viable for financing. “If it is fit for travel, it is fit for financing,” he added.
Aleta Planet’s parent company, Asia Capital Pioneers Group (ACPG), is working with its portfolio companies to provide financing. ACPG and DiMuto have already worked together on a private financing deal involving the import of Vietnamese Basa fish into China.
By teaming up with DiMuto, Aleta Planet offers SMEs in the global agrifood industry a faster and more cost-efficient B2B payment system that leverages the international networks of global card issuers like Visa, Mastercard, Discover and UnionPay. As an acquirer and issuer for these card companies, Aleta Planet signs up business customers and provide them with a merchant account that enables them to accept cross-border payments with any of these cards.