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IBM, Farmer Connect announce blockchain-based mobile app for coffee supply chain traceability

Tue, 07 Jan 2020, 05:13 am UTC

IBM, in collaboration with Farmer Connect – an entity that leverages blockchain technology to drive efficiencies in the agricultural supply chains, announced a blockchain-based app that will show consumers the origin of their coffee.

Called “Thank My Farmer,” the consumer-facing mobile application will allow coffee drinkers to trace their coffee, understand its quality and origin, as well as provide support to the farmers.

Currently, the process to trace coffee is extremely convoluted as beans make several stops along their journey – at coops, exporters, shippers, importers, roasters, distributors, and retailers – before reaching the final consumer.

The app is based on Farmer Connect – an IBM Blockchain-powered traceability platform designed to help increase traceability, efficiency and fairness in the coffee supply chain. It creates a permanent digitized chain of transactions that cannot be altered. Each network participant – farmers, wholesalers, traders, and retailers – has an exact copy of the data, and additions to the blockchain are shared throughout the network based on each participant's level of permission. Network participants would have near real-time access to this data.

Consumers simply need to scan QR codes on the packaging to view the information. The app pulls information stored on the blockchain in a standardized way that can be used across the industry.

According to a press release, the app presents the information on an interactive map, allowing each product to tell a story in a simple and scalable way. In addition, it also shows sustainability projects in coffee communities and offers an opportunity for consumers to support them.

"The aim is humanizing each coffee drinker's relationship with their daily cup," said David Behrends, Founder and President of Farmer Connect. "Consumers now can play an active role in sustainability governance by supporting coffee farmers in developing nations. Through the blockchain and this consumer app, we're creating a virtuous cycle."

The mobile app is slated to launch at the beginning of 2020. Consumers in the U.S. and Canada will be able to scan QR codes on 1850 brand premium single-origin coffee, while European consumers will be able to access the app through a new single-origin brand, Beyers 1769, roasted at Beyers Koffie.

Farmer Connect has been developed by leading companies across the global supply chain including Beyers Koffie, The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), ITOCHU Corporation, Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE), The J.M. Smucker Company, Rabobank, RGC Coffee, Volcafe, Sucafina and Yara International.

In collaboration with the Sovrin Foundation, Farmer Connect is currently incorporating self-sovereign identity (SS), a new form of digital identity built on distributed ledger technology. The objective is to close to the loop on a circular economy that will help enhance smallholder livelihoods while delivering transparency and a better experience for the consumer.

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