Linking small agricultural producers to buyers is the aim of an online platform developed by three Mexican entrepreneurs.
Called Nuup, the platform serves as a virtual meeting space where farmers can not only sell their produce to buyers directly but also learn more about the demands of the market in terms of quality, presentation and packaging.
"For example, if I'm a honey producer in Yucatán looking for a market, I can find different buyers who need the product as I offer it..." said Vincent Lagacé, one of the founders.
María Luisa Luque left behind a career with investment bank Goldman Sachs in London to move to Mexico where, along with Lagacé and Iván Córdova Morales, she founded Nuup in 2016. "We want producers to have the information [they need] to approach buyers," Luque said.
"It's not necessarily a price issue, it's a matter of the product being fresher and having greater traceability. More and more consumers want to know where their products come from," she added.
By cutting out intermediaries and better tailoring their products as a result of information they glean from the platform, small producers can increase their profits.
Nuup focuses on producers who work on farms smaller than five hectares, which account for around 70% of all farmers in Mexico.
The social enterprise start-up also helps small-scale farmers and cooperatives to link up and work together in real life.
"We're talking about very small producers, for whom it's very difficult to access markets on their own ... but grouped together we're talking about micro-enterprises that can be very interesting," Luque said.
Nuup currently collaborates with just over 6,000 growers of products such as coffee, honey, fruits and vegetables.
The platform was recently selected to be part of the MassChallenge non-profit start-up accelerator program, which provides funding and mentoring among other benefits.
Among the 17 states where producers are using the online platform are Oaxaca, Chiapas, Yucatán, Michoacán and Coahuila.El Financiero article translated and edited by Mexico News Daily.