Category Archives: Finance

COVID-19 and Its Impacts on AgFood Trends in 2021

It is likely that the pandemic will not be resolved overnight in its second year running. While Covid-19 has caused disruptive shocks to global food supply chains around the world at first, more lasting effects of the virus can definitely be felt on the agricultural and agtech landscape for the rest of 2021.

Renewed Focus on Sustainability

Sustainability and sustainable recovery are the latest buzzwords when it comes to discussion on how a post-covid world would look like, given the mainstream thought that climate change may have played a contributing role to the rise of the pandemic – many factors that cause climate change increases the risk of pandemics according to Harvard Chan C-CHANGE.

For consumers, this has translated to an increased focus on sustainable foods and clean labels.

Research by Palsgaard A/S has shown that four in ten consumers view environmental concerns are now more important when making food purchases since covid-19, and that two-thirds of consumers would be more willing to buy products from a company if they knew it used sustainably sourced ingredients.

Focused African American man reading information on packaging. Concentrated bearded guy buying food at supermarket. Shopping concept
Consumer reading food label at the supermarket

At the same time, there has been more consumer demand for clean label foods, foods that are made as naturally as possible with simple, easily recognizable ingredients that are produced in a manner that is healthy for the planet as well.

According to Mordor Intelligence, sales of clean label ingredients are projected to grow 6.75% annually to $51.1 billion by 2024, with the impact of COVID-19 pushing sales figures higher.

This will likely see suppliers and manufacturers ramp up on sustainability in their sourcing, production and supply chain processes, and communicating this to consumers through branding and marketing in 2021 and beyond.

Doubling Down on Food Traceability & “Messy Middle” Supply Chain

Covid-19 food scares have been aplenty since the pandemic’s onset, with China halting imports of European salmon after traces of the coronavirus had been found on chopping boards used for imported salmon at the Xinfadi market, commonly thought to be the epicentre of the initial outbreak.

That caused Chinese consumers to avoid salmon, hitting the industry hard.

Fresh Cherries

Most recently in January this year, there were claims on Chinese social media that Chilean cherries contained traces of the virus. The inner packaging of the batch of cherries tested covid-19 positive, and all unsold cherries from the same batch in Wuxi, the Jiangsu Province, have been collected and are ready for destruction, which could potentially result in massive food waste.

Although there still exists much uncertainty over the validity of these claims and the origins of the affected cherries, the whole imported fruits industry in China has been badly affected. In particular, cherry prices have plunged 90% and sellers have to resort to showing certificates of nucleic acid tests to help boost sales.

Thus, blockchain and its application for recording verified, immutable information from all stakeholders of the supply chain will definitely be a contender as part of the solution.

At the same time, product digitization will need to happen in order for food traceability to be fully effective. This gives industry players the ability to confirm the quality of the product as it moves along the supply chain, particularly through the “Messy Middle”.

Fintech For Food

It is no secret that working capital is a source of friction in global food trade. Due to the seasonality of the industry, agribusinesses have significant short-term working capital needs in the form of advances to farmers and huge inventory.

We’ve previously talked about how supply chain visibility is vital for cash flow management of agribusinesses in Covid-19. At the same time, this supply chain visibility also has potential for tapping on the unbanked or underbanked Messy Middle agribusinesses, who often are unable to obtain financing for their trades due to the industry being deemed too risky, too complex and opaque, and provide them alternative financing opportunities.

Technologies like blockchain, digital wallets and e-currencies also help to establish trust and facilitate transparency that break down the barriers to trade financing access for the agriculture industry. These have already made headway in terms of smallholder farmer financing, but the biggest potential lie in the Messy Middle, where the bulk of goods exchange hands and the biggest challenges lie. For instance, this can help small and medium traders and retailers, who often find it difficult to sustain business during covid, to get access to credit.

It is also telling of the potential of blockchain when the likes of governments, such as in Singapore and China, have also recently committed to significant resources to develop blockchain capabilities of their country.

The overall undercurrent theme for 2021 seems to be data, where visibility of flow of goods and flow of money needs to be achieved, so that we can really ensure that our food systems are efficient and visible, and that food is sustainable and safe for both people and planet.

If you are interested to learn more about our solutions, please contact

Why Supply Chain Visibility & Data is Vital to Managing Cash Flow in Covid19

The Poor Shape of Global Food Supply Chains Today

It is no secret that the ongoing pandemic has wreaked havoc in global food supply chains – think food waste from border lockdowns, farm labour shortages and inflexible supply chain, so much so that we have the United Nation declaring an “impending global food emergency” due to the pandemic, and the World Bank warns of food supply chain disruptions threatening food availability.

Managing Cash Flow is Imperative for Survival and Growth in Covid19

Given the added chaos of covid19, it is now more important than ever to ensure that agrifood companies, such as fresh produce importers and exporters, to maintain a healthy cash flow for sustainable growth. One way to do that is to accelerate and unlock working capital trapped within supply chains.

However, given the complexity of modern global food supply chains, agrifood players typically do not have full visibility of their supply chain, and more importantly, the physical product that they are selling – once the apples leave the packing houses, growers, packers, and exporters usually do not have real-time visibility on the apples as they travel further downstream.

Visibility is Key to Managing Recovery

Real-time data on your physical food products lays the essential groundwork for actionable insights, predictions, and inputs to planning supply and demand, and cash flow requirements. In other words, visibility is key.

How can we do create such visibility?

The first step: digitizing your products.

To begin, DiMuto 4T Suite Solutions digitizes physical products with unique DiMuto QR codes, assigning every single carton and every single product a digital identity that can be tracked as it moves along the supply chain.

How to ascertain the condition of your product?

DiMuto 4T Suite Solutions uses our proprietary DACky to capture a photo of every single carton before it leaves the packinghouse, and also at the point of receipt, successfully providing visibility of product conditions at critical points of the supply chain.

These are then recorded on our DiMuto Platform – a single platform recording all details of every single trade transaction.

Building Trust with an Ecosystem of Visibility

Supply chain visibility is not achieved in silos; for true full visibility, solutions need to create an ecosystem of visibility that work for all relevant players in the food supply chain.

How can we make sure there’s visibility for all relevant stakeholders?

The complexities of food supply chains cannot be ignored. For true full visibility, solutions need to address operational concerns as well as different existing systems used by the multitude of players in a single supply chain.

DiMuto 4T Suite Solutions uses a combination of blockchain, AI and IoT to solve this challenge. We provide DACkys that are able to cater to manual, semi-automatic and automatic packing lines. Our Platform is able to record all relevant documents from both exporters and importers, sellers and buyers. Our Receiver App is a low-barrier mobile solution for downstream players.

It is only with an effective ecosystem of technology can full supply chain visibility be achieved, and the right data be collected.

Visibility Helps Unlock Working Capital

Given the disruptions and inventory shortages in the covid19 environment, it is imperative that procurement and finance/treasury functions to be more aligned. Thus, the next part to the equation would be getting product visibility to get more working capital.

How is this applicable in fresh produce industry?

Oftentimes, trade disputes lengthen cash conversion cycle. Visibility of the condition and quality of the product effectively accelerates the cash conversion cycles by resolving trade disputes in an efficient and factual manner. Learn how we have solved trade disputes for a Peruvian avocado supplier here.

Furthermore, having this added visibility of perishable food products opens up trade financing opportunities and unlocks working capital from receivables. Supplier financing supplier financing ensures financial viability of suppliers and resilience of supply chains while allowing buyers to maintain extended payment terms. Read about how we helped finance US$2million worth of fresh durian trade here.

In essence, we need to have product visibility throughout the supply chain and be able to utilize this visibility to unlock more working capital.

With a better managed cash flow, businesses then can better respond to and recover from disruptions brought by covid-19.

 If you are interested to find out how DiMuto can help your business, please reach us here or drop us an email at

The Digital Supply Chain: Why Digitalizing Produce is Key to Accessing Trade Finance

Digitalized Produce Trade Financing

This is the third article in the series “The Digital Supply Chain”. This series explores what is digitalization, reasons for digitalization and best methods for digitalization of agri-food supply chains.

Trade Financing is Essential to Global Trade

According to the WTO, trade financing powers over 80% to 90% of global trade worth $15trn a year.  Importers, or buyers, naturally want to make payments as late as possible, often having longer payment terms while exporters, or sellers, need to obtain payments for their goods immediately – creating a conflict of interest at the crux of this business relationship. Thus, import and export transactions are heavily dependent on trade financing, which facilitates the trade process of exporters receiving payments and importers receiving their goods.

Challenges faced by fresh produce growers doing global trade

For the fresh produce trade, valued at $115bn in 2017, the sheer volume of transactions and transportation which must be conducted across borders in order to ensure buyers have consistent supplies of fruit can cause severe cash flow issues in otherwise healthy accounts receivable. This is compounded by the fact that revenue streams are affected by the seasonality of the industry, making managing cash flow critical for sustainable growth in the produce trade. For instance, without additional working capital, produce exporters would find it challenging to reach their goals of expanding to new markets and strengthening their relationships with current customers.

Challenges faced by SMEs

Small and medium businesses often have very limited access to loans and other forms of interim financing to cover the cost of goods they plan to buy or sell. Even with a confirmed purchase order, many banks typically still will not provide loans for such transactions. A global survey conducted by Asian Development Bank, reveals a global trade finance gap of a staggering $1.5 trn in 2019, with over 40% of SME trade finance applications being rejected by banks.

According to a report from the International Trade Centre, a joint agency of the WHO and United Nations, main barriers to SME financing include long and tedious process of assessing, monitoring and managing SME loans translating to high costs of SME loans. This is due to a lack of readily available and verifiable information on the company’s background, financial statements, credit histories, as well as a lack of available collateral and an efficient way to verify the quality of the collateral.

Thus, for small and medium agrifood and produce players, getting the trade financing they need to grow their produce trade business is a problem.

How Digitalizing Produce Can Solve The Problem

Digitalized produce can help small and medium produce businesses overcome such barriers and get access to trade financing. As mentioned in our previous article, digitalised produce is simply a physical produce that has a digital identity. At DiMuto, we help to digitalise produce by tagging each fruit or vegetable with a QR Label. The QR Label acts as a digital identifier for each fruit and contains data pertaining to the fruit.

Hence, when you digitalize physical assets such as produce, asset tracking is now possible – the identity, movement and condition of individual products and cartons can now be easily tracked and traced, improving the economic lifetime of such physical products as found in a study by the Community of Practice consisting of Rabobank, Allen & Overy, Schiphol Group, Avery Dennison on behalf of the NBA (The Royal Netherlands Institute of Chartered Accountants), Circularise, Everledger, Fairphone, Sustainable Finance Lab and Circle Economy. Transparency on the information, movement, and condition of assets gives produce companies a better grip on their assets and hence might improve the value of the asset as collateral to underwrite a loan. As tracking of these assets improves the accuracy of forecasted cash flows and control over assets, it lowers the risk profile of produce businesses and increases their chances to obtain funding.

DiMuto helps agrifood and produce companies to digitalize their produce by providing physical asset digitalization – meaning we assign a digital identity to every single physical produce, and are able to capture a photo of each carton and product before each carton is sealed, upload this photo and associate it to the specific sales order it was packed for. The visual photo ascertaining the quality of the produce, as well as the ability to trace and track individual physical produce can make the verification of collateral quality more efficient and verifiable, lowering the barriers to trade financing for agrifood players, particularly small and medium growers, packers, and buyers that do not traditionally have such access to such financing.

Every fruit now has a digital identity thanks to DiMuto QR codes

At the packhouse: Our Digital Asset Creation machine, otherwise known as DACky

Every carton has an identity and can now be tracked

Learn more about how we digitalize produce via the video above

DiMuto Trade Solutions

However, digitalizing produce is just one part of the equation. A platform that is able to collect and verify all the information regarding the produce is equally important. That is why DiMuto’s trade platform is blockchain-enabled. With its ability to upload immutable trade documents, blockchain has the potential to share verified documents relating to each trade in a secure and efficient manner.

The moment a physical asset like fresh produce can be digitalized, businesses can easily track not only the movement of the product but also critical product information such as quality, health certificates, certificate of origins, product photos tagged to the specific individual product, as well as relevant trade documents surrounding each supply chain transaction.

Such data is first captured in secure, sequenced blocks of information under the productʼs digital identity and automatically uploaded onto our blockchain-powered Track & Trace Trade Platform. This means that all the related information needed when trying to apply for trade financing is now readily available on our platform.

We then work with financiers, who because of the transparency of information gathered onto our platform, have greater confidence in providing financing for such produce trades of our customers. We recently helped to finance US$2 million worth of durian trades, which you can read more about it here.

If you are interested to learn more about how DiMuto helps create traceability for fresh produce, please reach us here or drop us an email at