28 November 2001
Farming ‘e-hub’ goes live

By Tom Allen-Stevens

A UK consortium is to launch what it claims as the first ever Internet-based trading system for agricultural businesses next week.

The system has been set up by First4farming (F4F), a consortium which includes agri-giants such as Banks Cargill, Syngenta, Dalgety, BOCM Pauls and Kemira.

Known as the e-hub, it will allow the companies involved to exchange documents with each other without manual intervention.

Some businesses will also be able to use the system to give farmer customers access to their accounts.

“It will help businesses who are part of the F4F community streamline their processes and become more efficient,” said managing director Nick Evans.

Orders and order acknowledgements, delivery and weighbridge advices, invoices and credit notes and contracts will pass from one computer system to another.

F4F will charge participating companies a monthly fee “similar to the costs associated with using a mobile telephone” for the use of the technology.

The company has signed up farmer-owned co-operatives SCATS Agriproducts, Grainfarmers and Agricultural Central Trading into the community this week.

The Irish Agricultural Wholesale Society, a company with farmer-owned roots based in Dublin, is another new signing.

Once the system is established and running smoothly, internet trading will be opened up for farmer customers of the businesses involved, said Mr Evans.

This is due to start some time next year.

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