May 20, 2021

Horticorp’s pineapple procurement drive

3 min
Horticorp, a corporation in India, has launched a “pineapple procurement drive” to support local farmers after a significant drop in the fruit’s price.

The Kerala Horticulture Development Corporation (Horticorp) has announced that it is launching a procurement drive to support pineapple farmers after prices of the fruit fell in the wholesale market. Currently, the best grade pineapples are being sold for ₹15 per kilogram, and the ripe fruit for only ₹13 per kilogram. According to pineapple farmers in India, around 6,000 tonnes of ripe pineapples were most likely to be abandoned, having not been able to harvest or transport them due to the Coronavirus lockdown. In the Ernakulam district, which is entering its third lockdown, the transportation of goods and produce is severely restricted. 

While no procurement target for the pineapples has been set, Horticorp is still enthusiastic to help the farmers, and yesterday (19 May), procured more than 18 tonnes of the fruit with the next batch being completed on Sunday (23 May). With the state government announcing last year that pineapple produce would receive a support price of  ₹15 per kilogram, Horticorp aims to continue to sell them at that price through the Vazhakulam Agro and Fruit Processing Company. The support price is introduced when the price of a particular produce falls below its production cost. 

Veteran pineapple farmer and Executive Director of Vazhakulam, Baby John, said that COVID-19 in cities such as Mumbai and Delhi caused “a significant lack of movement” of pineapples into upcountry markets. This is on top of the falling sales prices. These prices continued to drop even after expectations that the festival season of Ramadan would increase demand for the fruit in northern Indian cities. But, just as demand appeared to pick up in April 2021 when pineapple prices reached  ₹30 per kilogram, the market dropped and remains at the current price of ₹15. 

How are pineapples harvested? 

Pineapples only grow between 2.5 and 5ft tall and can be found in gardens or as a potted plant. While they are fairly easy to grow, the challenge is knowing the peak pineapple harvest time. 

One way of determining this is to wait for the fruit to produce flowers, signifying that it is mature enough to be picked. “Fruitlets” inside the pineapple then flatten and the peel changes colour from its green “ripe” stage to a more recognisable yellow. Another way of knowing when a pineapple is ready to be picked is by its weight. Ready-to-harvest pineapples should weigh between 2.5 and 4.5kg. 

Then it’s time for harvesting. To do this, cut the pineapple from the plant using a knife at the point where the pineapple joins the stalk. Then, either leave it to ripen further, refrigerate it, or eat it! 

The environmental impacts of pineapple farming

The production of pineapples relies heavily on vast quantities of chemical pesticides and monocultures, the intensified production of one crop. The use of these pesticides is particularly prevalent in Costa Rica, which is mostly a rainforest landscape. This means the pesticides are carried away by rainfall and then washed into water supplies, polluting water supplies for local communities. Pesticides also contaminate ground water and aquifers and have the ability to cause erosion, deforestation, and sedimentation. 

As a result, any community affected by the contamination must now rely on the government to provide fresh, clean water. In addition, around 6,000 people in communities along the Atlantic coast are reporting health issues caused by the pesticides, such as respiratory issues, birth defects, and skin diseases.


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Jun 7, 2021

Coupa Launches US$50 Million Ventures Fund

3 min
Business spend management (BSM) is coming back ─ and with its return, Coupa intends to invest in the future of its supply chain operation

Operational resilience and agility. Following the events of the last twelve months, companies have focused on these strategic areas like never before. Some, as we’ve noted, have started to wonder whether this trend will continue post-pandemic—or will we go back to the same old supply chain? Not if Coupa Software has its way. 


Last week, the company launched Coupa Ventures, a global fund that will invest US$50mn in early- and growth-stage companies that target business spend inefficiencies. “Coupa Ventures enables us to invest in a future where businesses and their suppliers can harness the power of their spend to constantly adapt, transform, and innovate”, said Rob Bernshteyn, Coupa’s Chairman and CEO. 


What’s Business Spend Management (BSM)? 

Let’s be honest, it doesn’t sound particularly sexy—it sounds like a subsection of the finance department. But business spend management, together with ERP (enterprise resource planning), CRM (customer relationship management) and HCM (human capital management) make up the core operating process of any company out there. When companies spend money, sign contracts, analyse supplier costs, take inventory or budget for the future, that’s BSM. Overall, business spend management is made up of three main areas: procuring materials, managing invoice, and handling expenses. Essentially, it’s the engine of the entire operation. 


Why Change It Up? 

According to Coupa, the next wave of BSM is now. It wasn’t always this way: in March of 2016, advisory giant Gartner claimed that BSM was dead. At that time, the firm was partly right. Companies couldn’t handle trillions of bits of data by themselves—and they were sinking as the waves of big data swept over their heads. 


But recent developments have meant that BSM isn’t fated to die just yet. “The key to optimisation is data—and not just any data”, Coupa stated. The company has supported community intelligence, in which machine learning uses anonymised data from hundreds or thousands of client companies to suggest better spend tactics. This way, companies can get better insight into their suppliers, track supply chain disruptions, and investigate procurement alternatives. 


This network effect is part of what makes Coupa Ventures so exciting. Said Eric Christopher, co-founder and CEO of Zylo, “We’re excited to join an expansive ecosystem of customers, suppliers, and partners”. 



First Companies in the Ventures Portfolio 


  • Zylo, a leading SaaS management platform that helps companies manage cloud-based applications, offers visibility into what software is being used, how much is present, and how a company can optimise its software investments. 


  • SourceDay, a leading supply chain performance solution, bridges the gap between a company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) and its supply chain network. 



At SourceDay, Coupa’s investment is heralded as a chance for the company to really take off. “The investment from Coupa Ventures will...enable our joint customers to save money and leverage supplier performance as a competitive edge”, said Tom Kieley, SourceDay CEO. “We’re honoured to expand our relationship with the Coupa ecosystem”. 


Looking ahead, Coupa will capitalise on community intelligence to help its partners make smarter spending decisions. “[Organisations will] place bets on which investments will quickly pay off to accelerate their growth and resilience in the post-pandemic economy”, said J.J. Freitag, senior vice president of Corporate Development at Coupa. “[And] we’re looking to back the best ideas across Europe and beyond to help businesses build back even stronger”. 


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