The lives of coffee farmers have changed considerably over the last decade, and it’s thanks, in part, to technology. Gone are the days when coffee farmers lived and worked, detached from the rest of the coffee industry. Real-time data, modernised growing practices and easy-to-use finance apps have made supply chains more efficient than ever before, helped to empower coffee farmers and changed the way they do business for the better.
Here are our top five bits of tech helping growers around the world:
This process enables growers to not only guarantee the quality of what they are farming but also to fine-tune their production processes to maintain consistency of their harvest. Using the associated Ikawa app, growers can email roast profiles to customers, suppliers and partners – and can share roasting and cupping notes directly. Farmers are utilising this tech to offer added value to traders and roasters alike while educating themselves about other aspects of the industry.
M-Pesa is a mobile money transfer, financing and micro-financing service. Launched in 2007 by Vodafone, the service offers is a fast and secure way to deposit, withdraw and transfer money, and to pay for goods and services on a mobile device.
This branchless banking service is revolutionising the way in which farmers process payments. It allows them to pay workers without the need for storing tonnes of onsite cash, which can compromise safety in particularly in volatile growing regions.
It is quick and easy to use, and the payments are sent by PIN-secured SMS messages to other users, which include sellers of goods and services. M-Pesa can also be used to redeem deposits for real money.
FNC SAP Colombia coffee portal app
The National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia (FNC) has partnered with software company SAP to create a mobile version of its coffee portal app, which gives coffee farmers access to real-time trading prices and trends within the industry.
Since rolling out the app, the FNC has distributed tablets to over 500 Colombian coffee growers, and trained them on how to use it. This instant access to real-time information reduces wasted journeys to selling points, and enables producers to sell at times best for them.
Water-efficient eco pulpers
Eco pulpers come with many benefits, primarily by reducing water usage and power consumption. With enviable throughput rates, they’re cost-efficient to buy, easy to install and useful for all types of producer. For small roasters in particular, mini-pulpers mean increased control over processing and quality.
Wider IT improvements
Improvements to internet connectivity are making great enhancements to the lives of coffee farmers, allowing them to access apps like the aforementioned FNC coffee portal and the Vodafone M-Pesa payment system. In addition, better connectivity has led to better information flow throughout the supply chain. This information flow is bringing roasters and farmers closer together, putting growers into the limelight and empowering them to take ownership of their brands. It has also made DR Wakefield’s 121 project possible.
Established in Honduras in 2013, the 121 project is designed to match coffee farmers and roasters for exclusive, long-term relationships, promoting sustainability and creating a direct channel between roasters and coffee farmers. Following its success, the 121 project was extended a year later into Peru, which grows the equivalent of around 4 million bags of coffee annually.
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