Carico Cafe Connoisseur is a Ugandan company using blockchain technology to certify shipments of coffee from the farms to the coffee tables in cafes and people’s home tables. The firm says it is using the technology to try and synergize demand for coffee and the level of production in Uganda.
Carico Cafe Connoisseur says this move could help both the producers and consumers at both ends of the supply chain. Since consumers are willing to pay more for products who source they can trace, farmers stand a better chance of getting a higher return if their produce can be traced back to where they were produced. As the firm puts it, it is a win-win situation for each party at the opposite end of the supply chain.
The blockchain technology the firm employs in tracing the coffee works by providing a shared record of data that is held by a network of individual computer and not a single entity. That makes it harder to tamper with and very reliable when it comes to tracing down the supply chain.
While speaking to Reuters, the CEO of Carico Cafe Connoisseur Mwambu Wanendeya said they already shipped a block-certified coffee product, Bugisu Blue, to South Africa last December. Though he declined to mention the size, it has been established it was several tonnes.
According to the International Coffee Organization, Uganda is the leading exporter of coffee followed by Ethiopia. Uganda’s coffee is mainly the robusta variety, though there are numerous coffee fields cultivating the arabica trees.
However, Uganda has not invested much in terms of value addition to the coffee beans. That means it exports almost all of its coffee as raw materials to be processed further in the countries importing coffee from Uganda.
With the Carico Cafe Connoisseur, certification means consumers can trace the coffee’s journey on their smartphone by scanning a QR code on its packaging. Alternatively, they can visit the website www.provenance.org. All information about the coffee bean, from the time a farmer drop them off at a collection point, to warehousing, inspection by regulators, and its shipping, will be available.
“The idea is to give the consumer an appreciation of what happens on the journey and also to ensure that there’s more linkages with the farmer. Traceability is important because people are increasingly concerned that … farmers get rewarded for their work,” said Wanendeya.