Durians take on technology as Singapore-start-up turns King of Fruits into traceable digital assets

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Each durian will be tagged, photographed and tracked at each stage of the supply chain ©Getty Images
Each durian will be tagged, photographed and tracked at each stage of the supply chain ©Getty Images

Related tags Durian Supply chain blockchain Thailand Singapore

A Singapore start-up will be the first in the world to transform fresh Thai durians into traceable digital assets.

DiMuto, a supply chain technology company, will work with Thailand’s biggest fresh durian exporter, Queen Frozen Fruit, over the upcoming durian season by tagging, tracking and tracing around 4m durians from Thailand to China, Japan and other parts of Asia.

Under the deal, DiMuto will turn the durians into traceable digital assets lasting from now to December. This will enable each one to be uniquely tagged, photographed and tracked at each stage of the supply chain.

DiMuto’s blockchain platform can work with supply chain systems to track and account for all of the durians on their journey from farms to factories, via cold chains and through distribution channels, to reach consumers.

Data is encrypted and loaded onto a blockchain ledger, enabling Queen and its partners to follow the entire durian supply process. The technology’s functions range from drawing up contracts along the way to monitoring packing status, having delivery receipts confirmed and receiving customer feedback.

It in turn allows Queen to share verified documents and data with its partners on a single platform, reducing trade disputes over quality and strengthening trust among its customers and suppliers.

The increased transparency blockchain provides solves one of the biggest issues faced by the fresh fruits industry: access to traditional bank finance.

Securing funding from banks has always been a challenge in the fresh fruits industry as risk managers cannot see what is happening behind the scenes​,” said DiMuto’s founder, Gary Loh.

We aim to level the playing field for the underbanked SMEs by opening up new trade finance avenues for them​.”

With the full supply chain visible on blockchain, DiMuto’s finance partner, Havenport Investments, can conduct more accurate credit assessments and extend financing to more businesses.  

Havenport has already started financing Queen, which has 14 fresh durian packing houses across Thailand, and four factories producing Thai tropical fruits for domestic sales and to be exported to over 30 countries.

Last year, Queen shipped over 10m durians to international markets, with revenue amounting to over US$270 million.

The partnership between Havenport and DiMuto could potentially extend beyond the fresh fruits industry, with Havenport hoping to expand its finance portfolio through DiMuto’s technology where possible.

The starting point for our investment solutions has always been to look at risks. DiMuto’s blockchain technology is an excellent solution for us to quantify and isolate the risks of related trades, and be in a stronger position to attribute liability​,” said Mr Patrick Tan, Managing Partner, Havenport.

This will enable us to confidently provide trade financing to a wider range of quality and profitable businesses, especially those that have traditionally been unable to obtain bank financing​.”

Around since 2018, DiMuto has has been supporting produce companies in Asia and the Americas. Beyond durians, DiMuto is set to apply its technology to longans, mangosteens and avocados.

The startup tagged 1.2m fruits for companies in the United States, Thailand, Mexico, Australia and China during three-month product trials that started in March.

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