First we helped farmers grow a successful crop; now we help them monetize it
We founded XpertSea in the belief that technology and data can solve problems for shrimp farmers and unlock value along the food chain; in more than 50 countries we helped farmers optimize feed efficiency, prevent diseases and reduce environmental waste.
But over the past ten years we spent working with shrimp farmers, we witnessed their struggle to access cash flow and loans from traditional banks, as well as their vulnerability when dealing with new buyers to get better prices. Gradually, we came to understand that helping them grow better shrimp is not enough if we cannot help them better monetize all their hard work.
Many shrimp farmers — small and medium growers in particular — are unable to secure loans or credit to finance their operations. Making matters worse, they often lack the leverage to get good payment terms from buyers. For some farmers this means waiting 30, 60 or even 90 days to get paid.
This makes it hard to buy feed and supplies for their current ponds, and even harder to invest in the next harvest. It also makes them more vulnerable to price or demand fluctuations like those caused by COVID-19.
At the same time, buyers can’t always rely on farmers to provide accurate information about the size, quality and characteristics of the shrimp harvest they are purchasing. Many buyers are unable to consistently source shrimp that meet their own customers requirements, causing problems along the value chain.
As we studied the problem, we thought: Why not use the tools we built that capture animal data and predict harvest times to connect farmers and buyers together?
We spent the better part of this year developing a new mobile application to do just that. Our smartphone app lets farmers capture accurate shrimp data using just their smartphone camera, and connects them to a large network of vetted buyers who can value their product based on that information. Now farmers can market their shrimp, identify the best offers, and conduct seamless sales transactions on our data-driven marketplace.
For this to work, we also needed to solve the trust issue between farmers and buyers. So we launched secure same-day financing that relieves the profound financial insecurity caused by delayed payment. Once a farmer and buyer connect in our marketplace and decide to do business at an agreed price, XpertSea pays the farmer 80% of her crop value within 24 hours, and assumes any risk associated with collecting payment from the buyer. We can do this because of all the unique shrimp data our app collects, which allows us to manage risk properly.
In our first few months of testing the marketplace concept, farmers and buyers in Ecuador responded enthusiastically, trading over 7 million pounds of shrimp on our digital platform. More are joining every day, attracted by accessing better prices, higher quality products, and fast and secure payments.
With their problems solved in this data driven marketplace, farmers can focus on growing their business and supplying quality shrimp to the world.
To learn more about XpertSea, please visit us at xpertsea.com.