New app aims to strengthen fruit trade relationships -

New app aims to strengthen fruit trade relationships

New app aims to strengthen fruit trade relationships

A new app has been launched aiming to simplify the way produce sellers and buyers interact, combining traceability with practicality while taking stock of the importance of trust in the industry. Catiba screenshot

Catiba executive manager Elodie Senatore told the app could be used on smartphones or tablets, as well as from computers.

"The idea is to propose a tool to growers anywhere around the world so they can work in a much easier way, creating various types of supply and listing prices for a wide range of buyers," said the French national.

"For example you could set a product price at €5 (US$5.53) per box and program the publication of your offer. In the case of Colombia, a salesman only has the morning to work with his buyers, but on Catiba he can work all day and schedule it so that a French buyer or a Dutch buyer gets it while he's sleeping.

"The buyers can have their work panel where they can see offers and follow them. The day before the goods arrive the platform will say 'attention, tomorrow some pallets of physalis will be arriving at the Port of Rotterdam'. When the seller creates their offer, they create the route and establish when and where the goods will arrive."

The app is based in New York and supported by investors from the U.S., the Netherlands, France, Germany and Colombia, including a coffee industry entrepreneur who prefers to remain anonymous.

The app's technical development took place in Colombia to save on cost, but operations are now all run out of the U.S.

She said the app, which had around 50 companies signed up, also offered flexibility to adjust prices like in an auction and also cater prices to certain groups and segments.

"You have a following of all the offers that are either closed [completed] or active; if there is an offer that is active and could expire, the platform will warn you, urging you to hurry up, change the price or change the expiry date.

"No one can see your details or access what you're doing; just the people you work with who you choose to allow to see the information. In this sector there is an issue of trust in dealing with fruit, and the system works on match requests so you have to invite the buyers or sellers you want to work with."

She says the model is based around 'supplier's push and buyer's pull'.

"When a seller creates an offer, he can either choose to send it to indicated recipients or to publish it on the 'public' panel (Catiba offers full confidentiality. "Public" here refers to all the contacts a user has previously accepted to work with, through the match request system). Any buyers who works with the seller has access to the push offers and can quickly buy the offer," Senatore added in an email.

"If buyers need to buy and receive fruits, they can publish 'Pull offers' in order to advertise their needs and the goods' requirements. The suppliers who are part of their networks can access the details and accept to provide on time the needed goods to the buyers."