While we can’t believe it has been over a year since our last post, we are back to reassure you that our team is alive and well, and we have many big updates.
Let’s start with the biggest change: we are now called Annona! Our transition from Markit Opportunity started with a big ask from the industry to take our farmer market access challenge worldwide. With our lessons learned as a trading company, Markit Opportunity, we developed a mobile and web-based platform that anyone can use to manage aggregation from smallholder farmers and other small-scale producers. Why the global supply chain? Our first series of blogs at Annona will explain problems that exist along these supply chains in developing countries, and how we have adapted our product offering to solve them. We hope you’ll enjoy.
When you visit your local supermarket and pick out a ripe avocado, how often have you thought about how it got there, or how it is that you get ripe produce year-round? It’s a long answer. There are several steps that products, like fruit and veg, go through before arriving at a retail store. They are sourced from all over the world to meet demand. Since the mid 20th century there has been a consistent rise in food imports to developed countries. The United States went from being a net exporter of fruit and veg in the 1970s to becoming a net importer, with that gap continuing to grow. Imports along these categories have increased 50% from 1999 to 2014, and the demand continues to grow.
In developed countries like the United States, fruit and veg are in season for short periods of time,sometimes as little as a few weeks or a month out of the year. In order to meet this demand year-round, retailers have to transport products from other countries that have different harvest cycles, usually in other parts of the world with warmer climates. These retailers that you buy your produce from- Walmart, Costco, Tesco- get their product from regional exporters all over the world that aggregate from the 500 million small-scale farmers that exist globally. These are the three key stakeholders in the global food system: retailers, suppliers, and producers.
Over the next few posts, we are going to review the world market for fruit and veg- including countries that you may be surprised to find leading exports of some products you buy everyday. We are going to profile in detail each of the stakeholders mentioned above, along with the unique problems they face in getting your food to the supermarket. Annona has been working hard to tackle these multi-tiered challenges in your food supply chains, and we are excited to share with our learnings, yet again, along the way. Stay tuned!