The International Trade Administration (ITA) reports that South Africa’s agriculture sector contributed 10 percent to the nation’s total export earnings in 2020 fiscal year at a value of $10.2 billion. The ITA credits Citrus, wine, table grapes, corn and apples as the most valuable agricultural export of South Africa. The nation also exports wool, nuts, sugar, mohair, and pears amongst others.
In a move to ease the lives of local farmers, entrepreneurs Grant Jacobs and Graeme Jarvie launched their agritech startup HelloChoice in 2018. The aim was to leverage technology in the process of buying and selling farm produce.
The South African agri-fintech startup HelloChoice made the news today having secured funding from Standard Bank as it looks to strengthen its place as the leading digital fresh produce and agricultural marketplace in the country.
Since its launch, the HelloChoice farm trading platform has gained over 2,000 users who have collectively traded over ZAR100 million (US$6.8 million).
In 2020, HelloChoice partnered with Standard Bank to collaborate on the OneFarm Share food security programme which secured 3,200 tonnes of hunger relief donations and 12.8 million nutritious meals for underprivileged children and communities.
Following the success of that collaboration, Standard Bank has decided to invest in HelloChoice in exchange for a 25% ownership share in the company.
“The strategic investment will help us to further fund ongoing tech investment and operational capacity, as we leverage our complementary offerings and strengths to deliver more innovative services and solutions to customers in South Africa and across our continent,” said Jacobs.
The head of ecosystems at Standard Bank, Wendy Pienaar commented on the funding, “Standard Bank’s equity purchase in HelloChoice affirms the bank’s aspirations to play a broader role in the agriculture ecosystem, and forms part of the wider ecosystem strategy, which houses OneFarm and OneFarm Share,” said