South African startup Nile has launched a tech-enabled sourcing platform that facilitates the wholesale trade of fresh produce, connecting farmers directly with buyers.
A B2B e-commerce platform, Nile aggregate supply across the SADC region to offer buyers access to high quality fresh produce at transparent prices.
“Our platform makes it easy and safe to trade fresh produce and a wholesale buyer can now view live prices and availability from multiple producers across different regions. A buyer can place orders instantly by selecting specific ripeness, grade, size and packaging,” said Louis de Kock, who co-founded Nile along with Eugene Roodt and Rick Kleinhans.
The founding team had been developing the business concept and platform since February 2020, but launched it to the public in November. Nile is looking to take advantage of the fact fresh produce trading is rapidly digitising in Southern Africa.
“Nile has developed a digital ecosystem that solves issues inherent to food trading, including price discovery, quality verification, payments, and logistics,” said de Kock.
“While traditional markets require both products and traders to meet physically at a central location, online trading ensures that products are delivered through the shortest possible route between buyers and sellers. This greatly reduces food waste and food miles. Using technology and digitising the transaction process, Nile can reduce the high transaction costs inherent in the fresh produce industry.”
Nile is self-funded but considering initiating its first external fundraising round this year, and has already seen strong uptake since its launch. One million kilogrammes of fruit and vegetables have already been traded via its online platform, while Nile has also been able to onboard several of South Africa’s leading producers across most key trading lines. The startup charges a commission on trades made via its platform.
“Nile currently enables South African farmers to sell directly to commercial buyers in SADC, thereby increasing their market potential,” said de Kock. “Nile has a bigger vision where 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.”