Rabobank has collaborated with IBM on the development of an application allowing consumers to support the farmers who grow the beans that make their cups of coffee.
"Thank My Farmer" has been unveiled by IBM and sustainability initiative, Farmer Connect, at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) with the aim of "bridging the gap between consumers and smallholder coffee farmers".
Rabobank is one of a host of partners from across the coffee supply chain to participate in the project.
Launching in the US and Canada early this year, the app enables users to scan QR codes on certain cups of Beyers Koffie's coffee and trace the journey of their beverage from farm to cup, and to support the farmers who grow the beans by funding local community projects. The app uses blockchain technology to deliver an interactive map that connects the user to farmers, traders, roasters and brands.
IBM states that two-thirds of coffee drinkers aged 19-24 prefer to drink coffee that has been sustainably grown and responsibly sourced, but the complex supply chain make this difficult to trace.
The numerous stakeholders, such as exporters, shippers, importers, distributors and retailers, each use their own systems to log data, making any holistic plot of the journey a fragmented one.
Raj Rao, general manager of IBM's Food Trust, describes this venture as vindication that blockchain is "more than aspirational business tech, it is used today to transform how people can build trust in the goods they consume. For business, it can drive greater transparency and efficiency."