iFinca LLC, a Medellin, Colombia-based technology company, has rolled out the beta version of its iFinca app, the first blockchain-based platform that allows individual coffee farmers to directly participate and provide input into the coffee supply chain.
Over the past year, the market price for coffee has hovered well below the average cost of production for most coffee farmers. In fact, raw coffee export prices have plunged 30 percent in the last two years despite demand soaring 65 percent over the past 20 years.
Transparency has often been touted as a possible solution for improving visibility in the supply chain and giving farmers a stronger voice. However, most transparency efforts currently only reach back to the FOB or organizational level.
The bilingual iFinca platform validates transactions and verifies purchases from the first delivery of parchment from the farm all the way to the roaster and cafe. Consumers are then able to access details about their coffee, including the farmgate price received by the farmer, when they scan a QR code at the point of sale. (Download the iFinca app on Apple/Android).
Initial testing of the iFinca app demonstrated a verifiable increase in price per pound for smallholder farmers.
iFinca says it reveals the true cost per pound behind every major transaction in this coffee’s supply chain
“There are significant and important aspects in this approach that are meaningful to us, like being able to approach our international clients directly. And get to know each other more easily. There’s a peace of mind that comes with doing business transparently, and knowing the actual market prices and the costs of the entire supply chain,” said Paula Roldán of Finca Santa Elena in Antioquia, Colombia. “It’s also good for our clients to know that they’re dealing transparently with good producers.”
Crazy Mocha Coffee Co., a roaster and coffeehouse chain with 20 locations in and around the Pittsburgh, Pa., area, will be the first to serve iFinca-verified coffee. The company sourced iFinca-verified green beans from seven farms in Colombia that use the iFinca mobile platform.
“The supply chain begins at the farm, that’s why we’ve focused our energy on creating a platform to reach through to farmers,” said Alexander Barrett, CEO of iFinca. “When every actor has access to the same information, they can create mutually beneficial relationships where farmers are fairly compensated, and roasters receive high quality, ethically sourced coffee.”
The app was developed by Debut Infotech, which plans to expand the platform into other countries.