Farm produce wholesaler AgriNurture Inc. said Friday it signed an agreement with the Department of Agriculture and the Authority of Freeport Area of Bataan to launch an e-commerce platform for trading agricultural products and virtual currencies globally.
ANI president and chief executive Antonio Tiu said in a statement the MOU would pave the way for the rollout of 1ANI e-commerce platform, a financial technology ecosystem that allows local farm input requirements and output to be traded using virtual currencies.
Tiu said this would open up financing and trading opportunities to institutional buyers and foreign investors residing outside the Philippines.
“The aim is to facilitate financial inclusion of agri stakeholders, especially unbanked Filipino farmers and fisherfolk, through a regulated financial technology platform and licensed virtual currency,” Tiu said.
Under the agreement, ANI will initially secure a license from AFAB for the issuance and use of Agri Tokens in the Freeport Area of Bataan before commencing global operation of the fintech ecosystem.
A Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas-approved branch of an affiliate bank within the Freeport is also required to act as custodian bank for the Agri Token and provide other financial services.
ANI will also establish and secure a license for an AgriXchange Commodities and Futures Trading Center with AFAB to act as a virtual currency exchange for the conversion of fiat money into virtual currencies and vice versa.
The commodities and futures exchange will trade basic commodities in the ASEAN region such as rice, corn, sugar, copra, etc. to allow farmers and institutional buyers to hedge.
The MOU provides for the development and establishment of a food terminal complex, cold/dry storage and logistics hub within the Freeport in coordination with the Bataan local government units and DA to boost the food security program.
The digitalization initiative is aligned with ANI‘s e-voucher financing project with Land Bank of the Philippines where LBP will also participate in funding agri-agra lending via e-vouchers using ANI’s close looped digital platform.
“ANI embracing this disruptor will be a major game changer as the country’s agri sector employing close to a third of the population has an estimated funding gap of at least $30 billion a year,” the company said.
ANI earlier secured green light from the Securities and Exchange Commission for the ASEAN green bond rating for its 75-million euro long term green bond.