Commodity Monday # 11: the Nutcracker

Every Monday, we curate the previous week’s most compelling stories on commodities, supply chains, blockchain and trade finance initiatives in emerging markets.

Magufuli Steps In, Deploys Army Amid Tanzania’s Cashew Nut Saga

Africa mostly export raw cashew nuts. Photo credit: Valency Int’l

We reported last week on the impending intervention of the Tanzanian army into the cashew nut trade (Nuts about nuts). Well, it happened: Some 70 army trucks were dispatched from the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces to transport the produce from small stores to large warehouses. The Operation Commander, Colonel Kisinda told journalists that as per President Magufuli’s directive, all warehouses storing cashews in the regions were under tight security by the army.

If all goes well cashew nut farmers in the southern regions will today start receiving 3,300/- per kg of the raw cashews. Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) official confirmed that everything was in place to start procurement of the cash crop as the President had directed last Monday.

“The country has been losing a lot of jobs through exportation of raw cashew nuts. There were a lot of processing factories but they collapsed due to sabotage from dishonest people inclined on exporting raw nuts”, said the newly-appointed Minister for Agriculture, Mr Japhet Hasunga, who also insisted that cracking the nuts will be done locally to add value to the crop and provide jobs to Tanzanians.

Firm Owned by India’s Richest Man Turns to Blockchain for Trade Finance

Oil and gas conglomerate Reliance Industries — owned by India’s richest person, Mukesh Ambani — has used blockchain to conduct its first trade finance transaction.

According to a news release, Reliance Industries has recently executed a “live” blockchain-powered trade finance transaction in collaboration with US-based global chemical distributor Tricon Energy.

The end-to-end transaction was facilitated by banking majors HSBC India and ING Bank, Brussels, and carried out on enterprise consortium R3’s Corda blockchain platform, the release adds. The Corda platform was integrated with a platform provided by U.K.-based trade finance digitization firm Bolero International, and was used to issue and manage an electronic bill of lading.

“The use of blockchain offers significant potential to reduce the timelines involved in exchange of export documentation from the extant 7 to 10 days to less than a day,” said Srikanth Venkatachari, joint chief financial officer at Reliance Industries.

Earlier it was reported that Reliance spent $5 million to acquire 5% of Vakt, an energy blockchain consortium

Shell, BP Back Blockchain Platform to Modernize Commodities Trading

Oil industry giants Shell and BP are among a group of firms planning to launch a blockchain platform to automate post-trade processes in the energy industry by the end of 2018. Other members of the group include Norwegian energy company Statoil, trading houses such as Gunvor, Koch Supply & Trading and Mercuria, and banks including ABN Amro, ING and Societe Generale.

The effort effectively intends to help oil companies replace paper-based documentation with smart contracts — a move expected to cut costs, reduce the risk of errors and make post-trade processes more efficient. The platform will comprise a “secure, real-time blockchain-based platform to manage physical energy transactions,” according to the group.

Lyon Hardgrave, vice president of product development, VAKT Global, the consortium building the platform said licensees that join the blockchain platform on a fee basis can expect to save around 40 percent in post-trade resolution.

“This not a trading platform, nor a settlement platform — there is no cryptocurrency involved. But it is everything in between: deal recap; confirmation; contract; logistics (the really big element in all this) — and invoicing.” Regulatory approvals for the venture are pending.

$30m available to lend on Binkabi platform at the launch of ‘Uber for grains’ in Nigeria with partners Sterling Bank and AFEX


From left: Manrui Tang — COO Binkabi, Abubakar Suleiman — CEO Sterling Bank, Quan Le — CEO Binkabi, Ayodeji Balogun — Country Manager AFEX and Bukola Awosanya — Group Head Agric & Export Finance Sterling Bank

Another nut was cracked here.

On 13 November 208, Binkabi signed a partnership agreement with AFEX Commodities Exchange and Sterling Bank to launch the world’s first blockchain-based commodity marketplace, dubbed ‘Uber for grains”, in Nigeria.

Sterling Bank is committed to put at least NGN 10 billion ($30 million) against this commodity supply chain lending program. Farmers at harvest can choose to store commodities in warehouses, borrow against them whilst waiting better prices to sell. A commodity aggregator could conveniently borrow from a bank on Binkabi platform to supply to a large processor under a long term contract, enabling all actors in the supply chain to achieve more efficient working capital management.

“As long as you are part of this platform and we can validate that you have assets within the platform, we will be able to lend to you speedily and with very limited cost and preferential interest rates”, said Abubakar Suleiman, Sterling Bank’s CEO.

More press coverage here:

Nigeria’s Sterling Bank, Binkabi, AFEX create first global blockchain based commodity trading, financing platform …N10bn available for farmers

AFEX, Binkabi and Sterling Bank announce integration partnership

Binkabi — Platform for issuing, trading and financing commodities on the Blockchain

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