Investors back online marketplace for ethical, green farmers

KUALA LUMPUR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A former investment banker has raised more than $10 million to expand a startup that helps developing-nation farmers who are using green and ethical methods to earn more by linking them directly with food buyers around the world. Food sold on Tridge includes peppermint leaves from Egypt, peanuts farmed in Nigeria and mangoes grown in India and Thailand. Seoul-based Tridge makes use of artificial intelligence, data and algorithms, and has about 80 employees in 40 countries verifying that suppliers are trustworthy and ethical. The online platform, whose main rival is China’s Alibaba Group, has more than 1,000 food products, 60,000 suppliers and 40,000 buyers. David Dawe, a senior economist at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization in Bangkok, said ethical and sustainable food supply chains often incur extra costs, making it hard for them to be competitive.

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