Adding Transparency to the Coffee Supply Chain

An app uses blockchain technology to verify purchases and increase efficiencies across the supply chain.


iFinca, a Colombia-based technology company, has rolled out the beta version of their iFinca app, a bilingual platform to streamline coffee sourcing and deliver  value to farmers at the beginning of the supply chain. The iFinca app uses blockchain technology to verify purchases and increase efficiencies across the supply chain.

Over the past year, the market price for coffee has hovered well below the average cost of production for most coffee farmers. Transparency has often been touted as a possible solution for improving visibility in the supply chain and giving farmers a stronger voice. The iFinca platform makes it possible for the first time to follow the entire supply chain, from farm level all the way to the roaster and cafe. Currently, most transparency efforts only reach back to the FOB or organizational level.

"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 iFinca app is the first blockchain-based platform that allows individual farmers to directly participate and provide input into the supply chain. The app was developed by Debut Infotech, a technology company that specializes in coding blockchain platform for supply chains around the world. As the platform develops, the company plans expansion into other countries.

The platform validates transactions from the first delivery of parchment all the way to the cafe. In initial testing, 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 farmgate price received by the farmer, when they scan a QR code at the point of sale.

"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, a roaster/retailer with more than 20 locations in and around the Pittsburgh 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.