Food for Thought from FoodPrint – June 2022

Julian here, founder and CEO/CTO at FoodPrint. I’m excited to be sending out an update on how we are progressing as an AgTech startup. FoodPrint is a digital food supply chain platform connecting producers, buyers and consumers. At FoodPrint, we believe in short, sustainable and transparent supply chains – they are the answer to fairer and more sustainable food systems across the globe.

I’m especially excited about 2022 as we have been setting structure and process to the business – our team has grown and going forward we will send out regular updates such as these.


Funding
2021 was a good year for us. We won the Inqola FEED Innovation Prize (South Africa), which was followed by funding from the Algorand Foundation (Singapore). With this funding, we have been able to grow the team, build our WhatsApp chatbot and anchor our supply chain solution on the Algorand Blockchain to bolster trust in the supply chain data.

We are looking to raise some seed funding in the near future, if you are an investor and would like to chat, reach out here.


Team and Partnerships
The FoodPrint team is growing, and in particular, our tech team is firing on all cylinders. We have an immediate need for a Community Manager – someone with expertise in agriculture, connections to farmers and cooperatives, entrepreneurship and community building. In addition, we are also seeking to partner with more AgriHubs/food cooperatives and bulk produce buyers/retailers – we would like them to hop on board as early adopters of our platform. If you can assist with either, drop us an email here.


Product Updates
WhatsApp Chatbot
At the end of 2021, we started work on our WhatsApp chatbot, and I am excited to say that we are almost ready to pilot this. Using our low-tech WhatsApp chatbot, farmers can register to the FoodPrint platform, and everytime they harvest and sell produce, they record this on the chatbot – creating a digital record (anchored on the blockchain) that links them to potential buyers and finance service providers (in future). The WhatsApp chatbot will be free
to use for smallholder farmers.

If you are a farmer, and would like to try out our chatbot, send a WhatsApp message to us here – https://wa.me/+27711463479 –  and you will be notified once the chatbot is live.

FoodPrint QR Codes for Track and Trace
The FoodPrint platform also supports product-specific QR Codes for consumers to scan, and read the claims or the story behind the food they are buying or about to consume. Here is an example – scan with your mobile device – and see what a provenance record looks like.

If you are a food retailer or business, and wish to provide a unique experience for your customers
(a digital touchpoint to drive consumer engagement), or a farmer wishing to tell the story about
your farm, get in touch here.

Harvest Box
We have partnered with PEDI AgriHub in Philippi Cape Town, and are piloting a fresh produce harvest box in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town! We are especially excited about this as this is an immediate way for us to add value to local farmers and provide the farmers they support with market access. The harvest box contains fresh, quality seasonal produce. If you would like to purchase a weekly fresh produce box, you can get in touch here.


Visit to University of Zurich Blockchain Center
And lastly, last month, I had the opportunity to share how FoodPrint is bringing blockchain technology to food supply chains in sub-Saharan Africa at a blockchain workshop in Zurich, arranged by the University of Zurich Blockchain Center and University of Cape Town. This was well received and networks established – innovation and collaboration feed and build upon each other!


That’s all for now. Until the next update, eat your greens!

Julian Kanjere
Founder
https://www.foodprintlabs.com

Reimagine with Eric Schmidt

Winning the Schmidt Futures Reimagine Challenge 2020

I am excited to share that I have been selected as 1 of the 20 global winners of the Schmidt Futures Reimagine Challenge 2020 challenge. Launched in August 2020, the Reimagine Challenge called on students from across the world to submit innovative solutions to spark global movements for change and build back from COVID-19. Following a rigorous evaluation process, the Reimagine Challenge team went on to select 20 winning submissions, having received 838 submissions from across the world.

Titled  “Using Technology to Elevate the Status of Smallholder Farmers and Amplify their Contribution Towards Achieving Food Security“, my submission was based on the FoodPrint Farmer platform – a blockchain-enabled platform for digitising smallholder farmer operations that I am currently building. FoodPrint was birthed whilst exploring use cases of blockchain technology in the MPhil in FinTech degree at the University of Cape Town (UCT). You can read my submission in the Reimagine Challenge Anthology which can be downloaded from here.

What it means to be named a winner

It is humbling to be named a winner in a global competition. It underscores the relevance of emerging technology in solving challenges faced in emerging economies, as well as the potential of novel data-driven business models going forward.

Being named a winner also reminds me of a quote from Brian Tracey that I try to live by – “I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often.”

Relevance of such challenges for students around the globe, and especially African students

Challenges such as the Reimagine Challenge provide an opportunity for students to exercise creativity outside of the traditional academic setting, validate ideas on the global stage and accrue some innovation capital. For African students in particular, they additionally provide an opportunity to not only build diverse international networks but also demonstrate the ability to compete and contribute on the global stage! It is especially encouraging to note that 4 of the 20 winning submissions are from the UCT.

What comes next

In the words of Mark Zuckerberg, ideas do not come out fully formed. There is further prototyping and piloting required before realising product-market fit for the FoodPrint Farmer platform. Outside of building FoodPrint, I am proceeding with further research and engagements on Blockchain Technology and Data Privacy, as well as technology mentorship in South Africa.

Keep Moving Forward.

Julz

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Footnotes
  1. Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative by Eric and Wendy Schmidt. Eric Schmidt was the CEO of Google from 2001 to 2011.
  2. For the Reimagine Challenge 2020, Schmidt Futures received 838 submissions from students enrolled in 264 schools in 40 different countries, representing 86 nationalities and speaking 53 primary languages.
  3. Shout out to everyone who has played a part in shaping the FoodPrint idea. This includes A/Prof Co-Pierre Georg, Oranjezicht City Farm MarketUCT MPhil FinTech class of 2019, UCT GSB’s Solution Space and the Oribi Village team.
  4. Links to official announcement and press coverage: