The Rooibos Tradepost (TRT) is an online platform that allows rooibos tea and buchu farmers or service providers to list their goods and services, and buyers to bid on these offerings. Possible listings include every step of the value chain from acquiring the raw product, through long term storage, all the way to processing and final retail packaging. Seeing that the TRT platform removes the middle man and enables buyers to procure goods and services directly from each seller in the value chain, sellers now obtain higher prices for offerings, while buyers ultimately pay less for the final product.
The participation of buyers and sellers at each step of the value chain, as enabled by the TRT platform, also opens the rooibos and buchu market which has historically been tightly controlled by few participants acting as middle men restricting direct transactions between farmers and large buyers of the processed products. The long term goal of the TRT platform is thus to obtain competitive and fair prices for both sellers and buyers, and ultimately increase participation to stabilise to the rooibos and buchu market.
In terms of transaction flow the process starts with the listing of a good or service by a seller. In the case of a farmer loading a batch of unprocessed tea, he would load a listing right from his smartphone while taking a picture of it in his shed. Before the listing goes live on the platform, the TRT team goes out to inspect and sample the tea. The samples are graded by TRT as an independent party and samples are sent for chemical residue and Pyrrolizidine Alkaloid (PA) analyses. Once the grading and analyses reports are ready the listing goes live on the platform, with these reports attached. Buyers registered on the platform, and who has chosen to be notified of such a listing, are informed via email.
The listing is available for a definite period of time, during which buyers have the right to inspect, grade and analyse the tea before making an offers on either the entire, or part of the tea listed. The farmer at any time decides to accept an offer and the listing gets marked as “Reserved”. Depending on agreed payment terms, the buyer that made the offer is now required to make a deposit into a TRT account. Once the payment is received the farmer delivers the purchased tea to the TRT depot. At this time the weight, grading and chemical analyses are rechecked and compared to the original results. Since the results from these tests are in line with previous ones, the buyer is requested to pay the remaining amount before collecting the tea, and the farmer is paid in full as soon as payment is received from the buyer.
Should there be a significant variance between the original gradings and analyses done on the farm, and the ones done on the tea that arrived at the TRT depot, the buyer and the seller have the opportunity to renegotiate. Should such negotiations be unsuccessful the buyer gets refunded the deposit amount minus and administration fee, and the farmer is liable for TRT costs and fees.
Once the transaction is completed the buyer and seller are able to rate and comment on each other. Such ratings and comments are then available for other buyers and sellers to see in future.
Once the buyer has purchased the raw tea through the platform he can continue to obtain storage, processing and packaging services in the same manner.
We look forward to facilitating your next transaction.
The TRT Team