Riyada Group, a Bahraini diversified conglomerate, is partnering with AVC Global, a Washington-based agricultural value chain company, to develop a new agricultural supply collaboration in Africa.
I recently had the opportunity to chat briefly with Sergey Tsvetkov, Executive Vice President of the Riyada Group and AVC Global co-founders, Leo A. Giacometto and David Todd, to learn about their new venture.
What were the original motivations behind this collaboration?
Sergey Tsvetkov: When the founder of the Riyada Group, HRH Shaikha Dheya bint Ebrahim Al Khalifa and I looked at the facts and AVC’s approach, we saw an opportunity to collaborate with AVC on something truly profound, which will supply agricultural products from Africa and Asia to the Middle East. We see Bahrain and Riyada Group as well positioned to be the key founding partner in this supply chain project.
This project has been in intense R&D for over a year and is just now coming out of stealth mode. We are developing and deploying a cohesive end-to-end agricultural supply chain and distribution network, integrated with an innovative supply chain financing and infrastructure development fund. The technology platform will develop and incorporate a distributed ledger, distributed applications, Internet of things, artificial intelligence, and smart contracts”.
David Todd: The convergence of market forces and the power of a well-designed and executed strategy are creating generational opportunities to design, build and launch, sustainable, socially responsible and healthy food ecosystems. By working with Riyada, this project has immediate traction and scalability, plus we have access to the Bahrain FinTech Bay for product innovation and development. We also believe socially responsible African agriculture producers working with smallholder producer groups are an ideal fit into the market needs and into our sustainability and growth model, especially with the transparency and trust enabled by our social impact supply chain-financing model.
Leo Giacometto: We initially discussed this project with ECOWAS officials and our long-term goal is to build a global-scale supply chain management and financial ecosystem with many far and wide participants, including millions of small holder farms working within the framework of organized Farm Producer Organizations, (Co-ops), mid-tier agribusinesses, and a myriad of diverse processing vendors and large multinational food system and financial players. By developing a truly distributed value chain, operating under a ‘blockchain network’ model, we believe we can best achieve the project goals. When we added it all together, Bahrain is the ideal location, a hub of opportunity to launch this project to success.
Our advisor Boris Revsin of the blockchain advisory firm, Game Theory Group, says it best, “In any emerging industry, there will be companies that push the envelope on technology or companies that are solving real-world problems. AVC stands apart by having the opportunity and knowledge to do both.”
Leo Giacometto: Let’s look at the facts: A growing global population requires that the world’s $8.7 trillion annual agricultural supply market to increase 70% by 2050. That represents over $180 billion per year in new market demand that must be filled. That cannot be filled without African farmers and agricultural products they specialize in growing. In order to meet this necessity, the leading multinational and innovative food companies recognize that the world’s 500+ million smallholder farms must integrate into global agricultural supply chains with a special focus on Africa and India.
As we have discussed, initially our supply network is being set up in India and then we will apply it to the multitude of emerging African markets which can help meet market demand if they have the next-generation infrastructure and supply chain financing that this project is designed to deliver.
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