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Coffee Traceability in the Supply Chain

More attention than ever is on the supply chain. Consumer demand has escalated new standards for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards. Bottom line: people care “where stuff comes from,” which means businesses have to care too.

Traceability is the ability to see the entire path of raw goods from original source to completed products.

It’s important.

And, in the world of coffee, it is rife with challenges.

A World of Coffee Drinkers

Globally, people consume 166.6 million 60kg bags of coffee a year. Some analysts say that as much as 40% of the world’s population drinks coffee everyday.

In the U.S. alone, coffee creates more than 1.6 million jobs and generates $28 billion in taxes. The global coffee market is valued at $465 billion.

People love their lattes, steamers, americanos, cup-o-joes. For most, coffee is a ritualistic habit, with daily treks to self-roasting, locally owned shops or giant behemoths like Starbucks and Tim Hortons. And people who drink that coffee want to know where it came from.

Coffee Traceability: “Bean to Cup”

International food trade has expanded in the last decade. There has been all types of growth due to the internationalization of food tastes and dietary trends. Coffee has been part of this growth, with more producers (farmers), more exporters, more roasters, and more retailers than ever before.

The chain of events to go from bean to cup are the following:

  • Farm & production: Input supply, cultivation, and harvesting
  • Processing: Exporters, producers, and cooperatives may have a hand at post-harvest processing
  • Roasting: A variety of factors, including localization and technique, impact this leg of the journey
  • Retailer: Productization includes packaging, labeling, branding, and getting the coffee to market
  • Consumption: “Into the hand of the consumer”
  • Disposal: After coffee has been consumed, its related packaging, vessels, and more are disposed of in a variety of ways (landfills, recycling, etc.)

At every step, there is a changing of hands, possible crossing of border lines, disparities in approach/regulatory environments, and endless other complexities that make it easy to lose traceability.

This is where we come in.

Blockchain Technology and Coffee Traceability

Blockchain technology represents a horizon of possibilities for reliable coffee traceability. At Dimitra, we are leading the way through the entire supply chain process. Everything from tracking mechanisms that start at the farm where the coffee is grown, to the buying stations, drying process at milling warehouses, and through the global transactions.

  • Our system streamlines the whole supply chain, with tracking mechanisms that begin at the farm where the coffee is grown, and stick with the product through the buying station, dry milling warehouses, and through global transactions.
  • Irrefutable record keeping is achieved through blockchain technology, which can replace manual recordkeeping along the supply chain and build trust.
  • Traceability helps cooperatives improve the quality and profitability of their production. It enables downstream quality controls, as well as the ability to backtrack to upstream origin of high quality, high profit products.

The Solok Radjo Cooperative

Here is an example of how it works.

The Solok Radjo Cooperative is coordinating efforts in the Solok district, West Sumatra province, by enabling fast-to-market delivery of some of the most in-demand types of coffee in the world. Dimitra’s technology creates transparency, which lends this and similar cooperatives credibility, making them attractive to global buyers. Verification against compliance regulations is one-touch easy for cooperatives that use the Dimitra app.

In a moment, importers and roasters can order directly from cooperatives, and buyers can see how a cooperative meets muster for food safety regulations (including liabilities), knowledge of the region and origin of the product, niche regulations, and ESG requirements.

With Dimitra’s technologies, cooperatives will get a higher price, which has a net positive benefit throughout the community. In addition, traceability creates a better appreciation for the farmers and their coffee products. Traceability is a fundamental goal in creating a sustainable coffee delivery system and helping to reach the SDGs.

Providing this transparency makes coffee personal again, encouraging buyers to connect with the on-the-ground players at every stage of development, rather than a nameless faceless corporate entity.

For the world of coffee, this is a compelling opportunity, and one Dimitra makes available to cooperatives and entities around the world.

The Time for Traceability is Now

“There’s no time like the present” — a statement never truer than using technology to support supply chain traceability.

The European Union (EU) Supply Chain law requires companies operating there to audit suppliers along the supply chain. This includes both direct and indirect relationships. Europe typically leads the global way in regulations, so many experts safely assume any countries that have not yet made similar mandates will do so soon.

This is happening, and any company that operates in coffee needs to be ready.

Dimitra has purpose-built tools to make traceability not only possible, but easy.

Dimitra Incorporated

New Horizon Building, 3-1/2 Miles Philip S.W. Goldson Highway, Belize City

info@dimitra.io