techfortrade’s open book trading service offers agricultural traders and brokers a new way to conduct business, by providing transparency and accountability to the agricultural trading process.

Based on the Transaction Security Methodology (TSS) pioneered by Rural African Investments, the service aims to reinvent the traditional middleman role; one which is critical to the successful creation of market linkages between smallholder farmers and larger commercial buyers, but which has been tarnished by years of mistrust and inequality.

Each stage of a trading deal is recorded on our innovative online platform which is accessible from a mobile, tablet, desktop or laptop computer, so that everyone involved, including sellers (farmers) and buyers, knows exactly what middle costs are incurred and what prices are being offered at every stage in the transaction. Building trust through transparency ensures that repeat deals will be made and agricultural trading networks developed, getting the best price for the farmer and the best quality for the buyer. Most importantly, by changing the basis upon which the trader is paid to a commission structure aligned to the price achieved for the farmer, it’s in the trader’s interest to achieve the best price possible for the farmer.

How does it work?

  • The trading deal coordinator is responsible for logging deals onto our platform, making record keeping easier and more efficient. The platform acts as a transparent and detailed audit trail for all trading business conducted by the trader using this approach.
  • Buyers can track deals to the specific farm of origin, ensuring accountability and preventing disputes. If required, buyers can also be given access to a range of online reports, providing detailed insights into the costs associated with each deal.
  • Working capital finance can be arranged offering Cash on the Bag (COB) to ensure that farmers get paid at the point of collection rather than having to wait for the buyer to pay. Up front finance is also available to cover the middle costs incurred in facilitating a deal, such as transport of produce and cross border fees.

The service is aimed at agricultural traders and brokers who realise the value that such a service can offer their business by building trust with sellers and buyers.

This encourages repeat deals and develops strong, trustworthy and transparent agricultural trade networks. The service will also appeal to buyers who use traders or brokers to source produce and wish to introduce more transparency into the sourcing process.

The Benefits

For Traders

The service offers a unique opportunity to re-position their business as one which is open, fair and honest, treating farmers and buyers alike with the respect and trust that will build loyalty and which in turn will lead to repeat business and long term relationships.

By using the platform, traders are creating a financial record of their business dealings which is critical in order to attract the finance required to expand and grow. By aligning the trader’s commission to the farmer price, the higher the price achieved for the farmer, the higher the commission for the trader, encouraging both parties to work together to get the best price possible.

there are a lot of hidden costs when you are doing trade. So it’s a kind of education and knowledge transfer platform that teaches you how to manage costs along your supply chain.
Perez Ochieng, Sacoma, Kenya

For Farmers

The service offers a safe and secure alternative to selling at the farm gate and provides complete transparency and a real understanding of the cost of doing business with larger buyers because all of the costs incurred in getting produce to the buyer are visible.

The availability of Cash on the Bag finance means that prompt payment is ensured at the time that produce is delivered to the trader’s collection point and there is no requirement to wait for payment until the buyer settles.

Best of all, if the anticipated middle costs such as transport or packaging are lower than expected, or if rejection rates are lower than predicted, any additional cash made or saved is visible on the system and is available as a bonus to the farmer.

This trading model has been beneficial because immediately I get cash, I am able to pay the people who are picking for me…I am able to get money to go and buy the pesticides and I am able to have some money left for personal use.
Samuel, smallholder farmer, snow peas, Timau Kenya

For Buyers

Who recognise the ever growing need for transparency in the supply chain and a growing desire to see smallholder farmers treated fairly which is often a struggle when sourcing via traders and brokers.

techfortrade’s service offers a way to achieve this, using an easily accessible tool for tracking costs and prices associated with each trade, from farmer to the buyer’s warehouse.

This accountability is becoming increasingly important to buyers.

Open Book will be able to facilitate and help to reach out to the small scale farmers, who we believe are the ones needing more help since these groups have poor access to finances, poor access to markets etc.
Burton and Bamber, buyers, Kenya


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