FEATURE innovationDirect DIGITALACCESSWhile we all know farms are fast being revolutionised by agtech, have you heard that technology is now opening up new ways to sell your produce?

IF you’re a grower, imagine you could reach active produce buyers direct – set your own price, reduce commissions and sell when your produce is at perfect eating quality. If you’re an agent, retailer or hospitality buyer, imagine if you had a database and direct access to all the growers in Western Australia, giving you the ability to find the fresh food you want when you want it.

“ Its capabilities
are set to change
the landscape
of selling and
buying fresh food.
Think of it as a
revenue stream
waiting to happen
for growers
and a world of
opportunity for
Words Anna Flanders
A new dawn for vegetable buying and selling is on the horizon.Now imagine that a large order comes in from, say, Thailand, to supply broccoli all year round. You can’t fulfil it alone. However, if you can send out a message to a group of broccoli growers who tick all the boxes for export, and progress that order and bring in that new revenue, that is a win.You may need extra staff and transport to make that happen. That information is at your fingertips on the same app through which you have secured an export deal and pulled together a group of growers to help fulfil it, and you can quickly secure the workers and inputs you need, when you need them.It’s a not-so-discreet secret that vegetablesWA and Sydney-based tech disruptors Maven Marketplaces have created an app – Direct 2 Farms – that can do all that and more. Its capabilities are set to change the landscape of selling and buying fresh food. Think of it as a revenue stream waiting to happen for growers and a world of possibility and connection for buyers.“We went to vegetablesWA and said: ‘is there a marketplace problem that you need to solve’? We heard current sales fees for growers were significant and there was limited competition in the market. And that was how the initial conversation started,” explains Ben Dunn, CEO of Maven.That conversation then expanded into how a digital marketplace could work locally, interstate and internationally. After grower consultation on the ground in Western Australia, the idea took hold and the app is now ready to launch. It can be downloaded from the Apple and Google App stores.“You can find new labour, you can find new markets, new service providers. It becomes a platform where you’ve got everything you need, you can use it from wherever you like and at any time that’s convenient,” says Ben. “Essentially, making growers easier to find and adding all the support services and suppliers for the horticulture industry. We are creating a community and linking all the growers in Western Australia. It’s one voice. It could be enormously powerful.”While the app will build a community, give direct access to growers and buyers, labour and horticulture suppliers, it will also provide news to the industry. This news can be filtered down to just reach a certain region or crop grower. This is a game-changer when needing to get out information fast in the event of a biosecurity incursion.However, it’s really about levelling the playing field and attaining a more realistic price, based on production costs and profit margins, for growers and creating more opportunity for buyers.Currently in WA a small number of buyers control the buying and selling of vegetables. It’s not an environment that fosters healthy competition to attain better pricing for growers. Based even on current pricing, the app could instantly add 13 per cent, or more, to grower’s pockets if they sell direct. This is a boon for businesses, which are already struggling under rising costs and dynamic market conditions.However, as much as the app will provide muchneeded competition among agents and produce wholesalers, it will also bring opportunity. Grower names and contacts are closely guarded among the agents. The app will open up the possibility for agents to add to their database of growers, expand their businesses and new agents can enter the market. But perhaps they will now operate at fairer pay rates for growers.“There’s nothing particularly new or clever about the app in terms of its technology. What we are doing is solving grower problems with technology. That is all,” says Ben.FOR MORE INFORMATIONTo see Direct 2 Farms and what it can do for you,
click on the QR code and follow the steps to sign up.
To know more, contact vegetablesWA at