SOUTH AFRICA – AgVentures, one of Africa’s leading agrifood tech investors, has acquired a stake in Skudu, a South African online marketplace for agricultural inputs and produce.

According to AgVenture the partnership is aimed to spear-head expansion of the e-commerce platform beyond its primary market in South Africa to the rest of the region.

 “We were attracted to Skudu due to their highly experienced management team, ambitious plans and traction gained in a short space of time.

“We believe that Skudu will bring much needed innovation to the South African agrifood sector with future continental expansion being planned,” said Gerhard Visagie, the CEO of AgVentures.

The online marketplace phenomenon has spread across most sectors in the region with consumers spoilt for choice.

However, the same cannot be said for the buyers and sellers of agricultural inputs and produce. This market is ripe for disruption and Skudu is ideally positioned to become the leading online marketplace for agricultural inputs and produce in Africa.

“We are excited to partner with AgVentures given its deep agri-industry and technology expertise. As Skudu we want to make it easy for buyers and sellers to find each other on Skudu.

“Saving them money in the process and helping them to increase their efficiency,” said Cobus van der Merwe, Leader at Skudu.

The Skudu platform consists of three components i.e., the Market, Match and Exact modules.

Skudu Market makes it easy for farmers to find the same, or similar agricultural inputs from different input manufacturers, whereafter it enables them to request a quote from the suppliers that service their farm location.

Farmers are notified when the quotes have been returned and are summarised on a single page from where the preferred quote can be accepted.

At present the platform only supports fertilisers and ameliorants, but the expansion to other inputs is planned for the near future.

“As Skudu we want to make it easy for buyers and sellers to find each other on Skudu. Saving them money in the process and helping them to increase their efficiency.”

Cobus van der Merwe – Leader at Skudu

While, Skudu Match connects the buyers and sellers of agricultural produce on the platform and enables them to agree to and capture the terms of the transaction through a blockchain e-contract.

As a first of its kind in South Africa, Skudu Match greatly reduces the trading cost of agricultural commodities.

Skudu Exact gives farmers, or their advisors, control over their farm data and allows for greater accuracy in input planning.

At present it allows for the planning of soil sample collection and enables users to manage their soil sample data once received from the analytical labs.

The soil data can be processed through the proprietary Skudu Plant Nutrition Algorithm which automatically generates a detailed plant nutrition plan based on the soil sample results and crop attributes.

Quotes can then be requested for the purchase of the fertilisers or ameliorants according to the nutrition plan.

The generation of prescription maps, recommendations derived from satellite imagery and other expanded functionality is planned.

The ecommerce market size, according to Statista is expected to show an annual growth rate of 13.3% between 2021-2025, resulting in a projected market volume of US$40.758 billion by 2025.

Skudu is AgVentures’ second investment after investing in FruitSpec in 2019.

FruitSpec, based in Israel, is disrupting outdated paper-based fruit yield estimations by replacing it with a patented computer-vision based system.

Not only can FruitSpec provide accurate early season yield estimates, but they can also give a distribution of fruit yields and colours.

This is invaluable for yield management, harvest planning and marketing management. With operations in North America, South America, Europe, China and Africa, FruitSpec is taking the fruit industry by storm.

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