SA startup launches platform to help agri-traders ensure food quality

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South African startup aSurveyor has launched Ukweli, a mobile app that helps agri-traders collect and analyse information about the quality and handling of their produce and share it with their customers, insurers and transporters.

Founded last September, aSurveyor launched Ukweli – which means “truth” in Swahili, to help growers or traders perform surveys at cheaper prices.

“In the event of damage to cargo in transit, cargo owners are expected to show evidence of the quality of their cargo at or extent of damage at discharge. Today, expensive surveyors are used to physically visit the cargo premises and inspect the containers and content,” aSurveyor’s chief executive officer (CEO) Kingsly Kwalar told Disrupt Africa. 

“Sometimes, exporters ship their goods to Europe and are informed by their buyers that the produce arrived with damage, and so they will only pay part of the price. With little liquidity, no surveyors are appointed, and the growers are forced to absorb the losses. This will no longer be the case as with an Ukweli code, they can ask their buyers to collect information of the damaged cargo and send it to them.”

The platform applies state of the art security features and bespoke work flows to conduct surveys and ensure collected evidence is immutable, and thus objective and impartial. Think enhanced traceability only cheaper, faster and very easy to use. 

Ukweli is currently in a pilot phase with a top tier shipping line and a fruit farm in Africa, but Kwalar said it was open to running small trials with farmers across Africa who sell to Europe.

“International trade and shipping are by their nature international. As such we have a global market target but we have elected to start with Africa where there is a serious lack of trust between exporters and buyers in Europe,” he said.

Bootstrapped until now, aSurveyor charges transporters and insurers a subscription fee, and applies a pay-per-use model for small traders.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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