News Supply chain

Douwe Egberts, coffee firms use IBM blockchain for coffee traceability

coffee blockchain traceability

Today, blockchain startup Farmer Connect announced a collaboration with several coffee companies to improve coffee traceability. Farmer Connect’s food provenance solution is based on IBM Food Trust and aims to connect consumers and farmers.

Youngsters and millennials are becoming more and more curious about the ingredients of the products they consume. They are also becoming highly conscious of how these ingredients are sourced. Blockchain provides a trustworthy and transparent ledger to track the produce from farm to market.

The major partners of Farmer Connect’s platform include the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), ITOCHU Corporation, The J.M. Smucker Company, Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE), RGC Coffee, Beyers Koffie, and Sucafina. The platform will go live at a later date in 2020.

The coffee supply chain is complex, from planting and growing the trees to harvesting, hulling, drying, packing, bulking, blending and finally roasting beans. All of this happens prior to brewing. Several intermediaries in this process carry out specialized tasks before the coffee is placed on shelves for sale.

Efficiency has taken the front seat in the global coffee market as prices hit a decade-low recently. With blockchain, coffee supply chain participants can optimize their businesses with reliable data.

“Blockchain technology, combined with digital identity and the ability to support sustainable projects across borders, is poised to bring radical transparency, efficiency, and data-driven sustainability metrics that have the possibility to birth a new, more equitable economic model in one of the world’s most vital commodity markets,” said Dave Behrends, Founder and President of Farmer Connect SA.

Farmer Connect has already tested blockchain for tracing coffee originating in Colombia and Rwanda from production to delivery.

The startup said it will also introduce the “Thank My Farmer” app for select customers of The J.M. Smucker Company, JDE, and other partners. Farmer Connect has developed Thank My Famer with IBM. The app gives consumers full information on the coffee they are drinking with data stored on the blockchain.

Additionally, Farmer Connect is working on decentralized digital identity for farmers with Streetcred ID based on the Sovrin Network. This digital identity will be a part of the Thank My Farmer app for consumers to contribute to their favorite growers.

The company said it expects to scale the blockchain platform to other commodities once the coffee model is in place.

The new platform has some competition. Global coffee brand Starbucks has partnered with Microsoft Azure Blockchain for coffee traceability. The traceability service promises to share information via the Starbucks app about packaged coffee, such as where the purchased beans were grown and roasted.

Six months ago, India’s Ministry of Commerce & Industry launched a blockchain-based marketplace app for coffee trading.

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