Among the fresh produce by local growers. Image: Courtesy of Agrome IQ

Local agritech startup Agrome IQ recently launched its e-commerce platform Agrome Market, in an order to nurture business sustainability among local farmers and to restore the agricultural ecosystem that has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Agrome Market which can be accessed at www.agromemarket.com connects local farm products to customers via door-to-door services, in light of the difficulties faced by local growers in selling their fresh produce to the COVID-19 crisis.

“We believe this platform can be very helpful in supporting the local farmers to access a wide customer base and for the community to have a convenient and easy way to support the ecosystem,” said Agrome IQ founder, Dr Vanessa Teo.

In an interview with The Bruneian, Teo said that 20 farmers have already been engaged through the platform, however, Agrome IQ is determined to invite more local growers into the platform, setting themselves up with a target of onboarding 1,500 farmers in the next 12 months.

The founder of Agrome IQ Dr Vanessa Teo. Image: Courtesy of Agrome IQ

She explained that the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism has also been helping the agritech startup in identifying active farmers that can become potential vendors for the online agri-market place.

According to Teo, no registration or subscription fees will be imposed on the farmers however, they will be charged with a transaction fee of eight to 10 per cent which will vary, depending on the type of produce sold and the quantity that is being ordered.

Deliveries and packaging will also be managed by Agrome IQ, she added, hoping that the provided convenience would galvanize local growers to focus their energy on production, so that they “would continue to grow” fresh produce.

In relation to this Teo said that all deliveries, packaging as well as marketing will also be managed by Agrome IQ, affording farmers a significant reduction in operating costs.

Image: Courtesy of Agrome IQ

At the same time, aside from connecting local growers to buyers, Agrome IQ is aiming to improve the product quality of local farmers over time, taking into consideration one of the company’s core services which is to provide Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training for farmers.

Ultimately, Agrome IQ is hoping that the Bruneian community can embrace the platform and support the Agrome Market by making purchases.

This hope extends beyond COVID-19, as the Agrome Market aspires to include other categories beyond fruits and vegetables in the future, as different sectors of the local agricultural industry have expressed interest in the online platform.

“As a society there is that concern about whether our food is as secure as we think it is, because definitely, supply chains now are being disrupted due to (the coronavirus travel) restrictions.

“At the same time, we are also dealing with problems such as food wastages and lack of food accessibility, so the concept of business as usual just cannot go on, because we as a nation should focus on our production efficiency.

Image: Courtesy of Agrome IQ

“The Agrome Market is our way of providing a solution for our farmers so they don’t feel demoralised (due to the disruption in business activities), because our greatest fear is that they feel demoralised to a point that they stop growing. 

“What we want right now is to be very open and support all kinds of farmers, big or small. We want to help them expand, survive as a business and cater to their different challenges during this difficult time time,” she concluded.

For farmers who are interested in registering their products onto the platform can contact Agrome IQ at +6738722844 or by filling up the registration form at: https://forms.gle/3XeMjjECHVQMN77i9

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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