Virtual fresh produce marketplace e-FRESCO launches blockchain services

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Virtual fresh produce marketplace e-FRESCO launches blockchain services

e-FRESCO, a virtual marketplace for fresh fruit and vegetables that supports cross-border trade, has launched blockchain-based services for customers in several markets.

The Jordan-based global portal is now providing shipment and B2B payments based on the secure digital ledger technology for customers in the U.S., Canada, the Middle East, Europe and South America.

The creators of e-FRESCO say it is not a typical virtual marketplace where buyers and sellers connect. In addition to networking between importers and exporters, the portal provides services for farmers and agribusiness entities to empower their cross-border trading.

The portal has been developed by international experts from Jordan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the U.S., Pakistan, Russia, China and India.

It supports the whole agribusiness supply chain including distributors, wholesalers, the foodservice sector and retailers. After traders find their sourcing needs and identify their clients, they can then secure their shipment and payments.

"The system pinpoints end-users in the foodservice and retail industry and links them with local and international traders," said founder Ammar Alshami.

Transparent transactions, and reducing time, effort, and costs are some of the key benefits the platform offers to the global agribusiness industry.

The platform also invests more than US$10,000 per month to promote and post the products of the subscribers to its virtual marketplace, he said. This will save marketing budgets for agribusinesses and increase the exposure of their products to international markets.

In addition, the portal has been integrated with social media, where products are automatically posted as soon as they are published on the platform.

The platform has vertically and horizontally integrated its services.

The vertical integration focus on serving a specific sector and segments such as specialization in fresh produce segment. A generic virtual marketplace that provides a wide portfolio of products and services from different sectors will not work anymore, Alshami said.

In the horizontal aspects, e-FRESCO provides not only networking services to connect importers and exporters, but also critical value-added services such as customer services, shipping, cross border payments and quality assurance.

“The complexity of the supply chain in cross border transactions are due to the involvement of different stakeholders such as shippers, inspection companies, importers, exporters, customers and banking systems," Alshami said.

"There is no way to enhance the effectiveness of the stakeholders involved in the supply chain without a blockchain system that secures shipment and payments."

The necessity to integrate supply chains through blockchain has become even greater due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he added.

Alshami also explained that in an increasingly globalized and digitalized world, time is becoming increasingly precious. At the same time, diminishing physical constraints for shoppers and overhead costs for vendors are considered critical to carry their businesses forward in this new era.

A virtual marketplace is a future that will lead the world and will have an uplifting effect on the lives of farmers, he said.

"From a customer’s point of view, they have more options to choose and decide for healthier lifestyle choices by selecting the farm-fresh produce from the vast array of the farmers that are selling their produce directly on the virtual marketplace," he said.

"From the perspective of the vendor or farmer, the overhead costs have been drastically reduced. The elimination of unjustified brokers or commission agents has been totally eliminated.

"The virtual marketplaces are here to stay and fact can be seen that Facebook and Instagram are also transforming them into a hybrid type of a digital marketplace where consumers' choices will improve the visibility of the sellers and translate into profits and create a healthy competition."

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