SOUTH AFRICA – South African startup, 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.

Ukweli – which means “truth” in Swahili, is aimed to help growers or traders perform surveys at cheaper prices while enhancing traceability, risk insights and quality control.

Global food waste amounts to US$990 billion annually of which 30% of that consists of Fruits and vegetables with14% of all food wastage occurs in transit.

From the orchard, to the pack house and the cold store, to the first carrier and eventually the shipping lines, there are numerous opportunities for fruit to depreciate.

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.

According to aSurveyor’s chief executive officer (CEO) Kingsly Kwalar, “Today, expensive surveyors are used to physically visit the cargo premises and inspect the containers and content.”

“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,” he added.

The platform applies state of the art security features and bespoke workflows to conduct surveys and ensure collected evidence is immutable, and thus objective and impartial.

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 export 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.