Low prices paid to coffee farmers and rampant speculation in the market are jeopardizing the future of coffee. The industry is increasingly looking to technology to improve transparency and deliver more value. The iFinca platform streamlines trade to deliver greater value to coffee farmers and provide coffee companies with full traceability to the farmgate price.
“If we’re going to make sure farmers get what they need to produce coffee sustainably, we need to figure out how to better distribute value,” said Alexander Barrett, CEO of iFinca. “With iFinca handling the heavy work of sharing verified information, we're able to create efficiencies across the supply chain that ensure that farmers are better compensated and receive a living income.”
While some new tech solutions use blockchain to trace coffee and allow end consumers to ‘tip their farmers’, the iFinca platform turns the trading model on its head utilizing a network of verified transactions where every actor in a supply chain has equal access to information.
“The issue of transparency and being able to trace coffee to its origin is very important. It means being able to understand the way it was cultivated, how it moves around the world,” said Néstor Osorio, former Executive Director of the International Coffee Organization and former Ambassador to the UK and the United Nations. “As a platform, iFinca is the answer to how we innovate, to how we answer that question bringing producers and consumers closer together.”
Since its launch in October 2019, the iFinca platform has grown to include 38 exporters, 14 importers, 26 roasters and 19 cafes, and 9,430 individual farmers and 13 cooperatives across Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Coffee traded via the iFinca app is currently available in the US, UK and will soon be available in the EU, Russia and South Korea.
iFinca’s blockchain platform validates transactions from the first delivery of parchment all the way to the cafe. In initial trading, iFinca has demonstrated a verifiable increase in price per pound for smallholder farmers. Consumers will be able to access details about their coffee, including the price received by the farmer, when they scan a QR code at the point of sale.
“The insight into our relationships through iFinca allow us to have a direct connection with the farms we source from. This means better coffee for our customers and better income for the farmers we source from,” said Ed Wethli, owner of Crazy Mocha, a roaster/retailer with more than 25 locations in and around the Pittsburgh area. Crazy Mocha is the first cafe to serve iFinca verified coffee from seven farms in Colombia.