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Heifer International and IBM collaborate to improve coffee farmer income

Global non-profit and technology giant partner to deploy supply chain transparency tools designed to enable coffee and cocoa farmers to secure higher market prices

Photo credit: Christian Joudrey

Global non-profit Heifer International and technology giant IBM have partnered to deploy supply chain transparency tools designed to enable smallholder coffee and cocoa farmers secure higher market prices through improved access to market and supply chain data.
According to Heifer International, small-scale coffee farmers operate at an average of 46–59% loss, with farmers earning less than 1% of the sale of a cup of coffee at a coffee shop.
Under the initiative, the two organisations will work together using IBM Food Trust, a blockchain-powered platform that enables farmers and buyers to trace coffee and cocoa beans from the farm to the point of sale, improving transparency along the supply chain and increasing market access.
It is currently being used by coffee farmers in the COPRANIL cooperative and cocoa farmers that are part of Chocolate4All. The blockchain technology also provides a record of provenance for smallholder farms, providing farmers with a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Providing transparency along the supply chain through Food Trust, built on IBM Blockchain technology, will help give coffee buyers who purchase from the COPRANIL cooperative in Honduras and Chocolate Halba, which buys cocoa from farmers in Heifer Honduras’ Chocolate4All project, a better understanding of their product supply chains, and enable farmers to secure higher prices.
“For 18 months, we’ve worked alongside farmers to identify the best ways to improve production processes, digitize the value chain, and ultimately open market access to smallholder farmers so they can secure premium prices,” said Jesús Pizarro, Vice President of Financial Innovation at Heifer International.

“As one of the first cooperatives in the world to deploy the system, COPRANIL is leading the way, equipping its farmers with the tools and technology they need to build and sustain profitable farm businesses, he added.”
Founded in 1944, Heifer International supports farmers and local food producers to strengthen local economies and build secure livelihoods that provide a living income.

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