Seeking Smart Contracting System To Facilitate Commodity Trading

Background / Description

The Open Innovation Platform (OIP), an initiative by the Info-Communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA), aims to connect real business challenges to problem solvers. 



Trustineo International is a Singapore-based company that serves as a trusted intermediary for agricultural soft commodity transactions between West Africa and South East Asia. They represent African partners from Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Rwanda, etc. who are exporters of cocoa, coffee, cashew, rubber etc. and connect them to the network of buyers in South East Asia. 

There is considerable complexity in this supply chain. Trustineo is already managing supply contracts in this space, and currently does so in a manually intensive way. The company is therefore seeking to scale their service through digital means. The increased penetration of smart phone connectivity in Africa also opens up new opportunities for digitally-driven supply chains.

Trustineo would like to develop a digital trading exchange platform that can aggregate the demand of many smaller buyers and sellers.

Trustineo envisages that such a platform would enable trusted and transparent trading of small quantities of commodities direct from the source, and greatly simplify the complex transaction process and challenges for SME buyers looking to trade with West African suppliers. Trustineo will eventually provide end-to-end support to enable supply of the commodities to Singapore (as a base for the region), including verification of the commodity producer (quality and standards), ensuring regulatory compliance, managing the freight logistics, and managing financial transactions.

For a start, Trustineo is looking for a digitally-enabled smart contracting system to facilitate cocoa, coffee, cashew and fish trades between West African suppliers in countries such as Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, and Singapore-based SMEs.



How might we manage contracting between commodity buyers in Singapore and farmers in West Africa, using a digital (and mobile-based) solution that is secure, easy to understand and builds trust between the trading parties?

Technical Specifications

• A prototype solution that will enable formation and execution of a contract between a farmer (or an intermediary, like a cooperative) and a Singapore-based buyer, that will enable trusted trading of small quantities (less than 1 tonne or 1,000 kg in a transaction)
• The smart contracting aspect will need to link commodity quality, quantity, price, compliance with government regulations (e.g. import and export licenses, customs declarations), verification of payment, and compliance with industry standards (e.g. fair trade certification), and provide the security to prevent any kind of fraud.
• The solution should minimise the need for any paper documentation, preferably providing a fully digital solution, noting that some inputs to the contract (like government licenses) are in paper form, and would need to be ingested. It should support digital identification verification and digital signing of contracts.
• The solution will need to be largely smart-phone based, particularly in West Africa, where it will be the primary user interface for farmers.
• The solution should be open and designed to be cloud-native, i.e., able to be seamlessly integrated to various cloud platforms, based on scalable platform and flexible software architecture which will able to adapt to changes in both environment and usability requirements. This will allow Trustineo to implement new features in the future in a modular and agile manner.
• The solution should be able to scale to enable aggregation of multiple sellers (farmers) and buyers (SMEs), and across different markets in West Africa and Southeast Asia potentially with different import and export requirements.
• The platform should be able to work in English (for buyers) and French (for West African farmers)



A Singapore-based premium chocolate maker is seeking for single-origin cocoa from the Ivory Coast. They need the best cocoa available, but only need 200kg per month for one of their premium chocolate bar lines.

Using the Trustineo platform, they are able to find a farming cooperative that has the suitable cocoa for them, and set up a recurring contract to guarantee supply every month. The farming cooperative and the chocolate maker can quickly and easily establish and sign the contract through the platform using their mobile phones. They are assured that Trustineo has already verified the credentials of both buyer and seller. With the contract in place, they can easily build a trusted relationship, and take advantage of Trustineo’s end-to-end service that ensures that the right goods arrive in Singapore with minimum fuss.


• SGD 35,000 of prize money for each winner of this challenge (see Award Model)
• An opportunity to work with a partner that has ground experience and an extensive network in the agricultural and commodity trading business in West Africa
• Potential business partnership or equity share in an innovative start-up



We are open to global and Singapore-based individuals, research providers and companies that have digital technology expertise and innovation capabilities. Some of these include Info-Comm and Media (ICM) start-ups, SMEs and larger companies. Problem Solvers should have the ability and desire to co-create and innovate with Problem Owners or/and other partners to translate their ideas into solutions that can address real business needs. 

There are no restrictions on the geographic location of the problem solvers who may choose to apply to this challenge. However, the prototype needs to be demonstrated in Singapore. Global applicants must be prepared to bear the additional cost of travel.


Further Details

Technical details of the problem statements as well as information related to the innovation calls can be found on the IMDA Open Innovation Platform (OIP) which you will be redirected to after clicking on the 'Proceed To Details' button below and filling up a short form with your basic information.

Preferred Business Model

  • R&D Collaboration
  • Business Collaboration (Joint Venture, Distribution)

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