IBM and Farmer Connect launch blockchain-based applications: let's learn about the journey of coffee beans

On January 6, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, IBM and Farmer Connect, an organization dedicated to improving the transparency and sustainability of the agricultural supply chain, demonstrated a blockchain-based application to make consumers more Good to know the coffee beans they bought.

42440729212_1d429e7c44_b (Image source: flickr )

David Behrends, the founder and president of Farmer Connect, said that the mobile application Thank My Farmer provides an interactive map where consumers can see the details of the coffee they have purchased by scanning a QR code:

After scanning the QR code with the app, consumers will enter the product page, which lists the details of the coffee they drink. There is an interactive map at the bottom of the page that shows the shipping route for coffee. We want users to travel around the world with a cup of coffee.

This application called Thank My Farmer is based on IBM's blockchain technology, which creates a permanent, unchangeable digital transaction chain that tracks every link in the transportation of coffee beans.

Paul Chang, the head of IBM's global blockchain, said that each participant in the Thank My Farmer network has an exact copy of the transaction data, and participants with different permission levels can share content added to the blockchain across the network . This enables farmers, wholesalers, traders and retailers to interact more effectively, while giving consumers a better understanding of where coffee products come from.

Behrends explained that consumers will be able to see the exact location of the farm where they grow coffee, as well as the production process that coffee beans go through before they reach the retail store.

If we have specific geographic locations for farmers, their farms will appear on interactive maps. If we don't have this information, then the steps in coffee production are replaced. For example, coffee beans are taken from coffee cherries, washed and dried. And the production and transportation processes involved in the import and export of products. Consumers can click on the interactive map to learn more about the origin, transportation and production of coffee.

Behrends revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show that Thank My Farmer will be available in early 2020. Users in the US and Canada will be able to scan QR codes on the brand's premium single-product coffee Folgers 1850. Consumers in Europe will be able to use the app to scan Beyers 1769, a single-origin brand.

Thank My Farmer combines traceability and charity

Behrends also pointed out that Thank My Farmer hopes to make the relationship between each consumer and their coffee more humane by letting coffee drinkers understand the supply chain and better understand the steps involved in product production.

The report shows that coffee drinkers consume more than 500 billion cups of coffee each year. In addition, two-thirds of consumers between the ages of 19 and 24 prefer to buy coffee that is sustainable and has a reliable source. However, nearly 25 million small coffee farmers worldwide still lack the expertise to bring their products to market.

Thank My Farmer allows consumers to directly contribute to the farmers responsible for purchasing coffee through the blockchain. Behrends said that with the development of the app, consumers will be able to support coffee farmers by funding local projects through the app.

He says:

We hope to encourage consumers to contribute to the coffee community while drinking coffee, so as to facilitate the sharing of sustainable management experience. To me, this is what human coffee means.

Behrends said that the Sovrin Foundation will provide farmers with digital identities based on the blockchain:

We are working with the Sovrin Foundation to embed autonomous identities in our applications. We are still developing this technology, which will give farmers a digital identity and let them own their data for the first time.

In addition, Behrends also said that the farmer's digital identity will include vouchers and digital records when the farmer sells coffee to merchants. Merchants can push digital vouchers to farmers through the app to confirm the price, quantity and quality of coffee. Once the farmer accepts and confirms the information, a digital record of production and income is created, and these records will appear and be saved on the IBM blockchain.

In the future, farmers' digital identities will also be linked to bank accounts or digital wallets, and consumers can donate directly to farmers, and then track the flow of these donations through the Thank My Farmer app.

The app's payment system will be ready by February, and consumers who want to support farmers will be given a unique key to track their charitable behavior at any time. He stated:

With this app, consumers can 'track funds' to understand when donations are collected, how they are aggregated, and which specific projects the funds are being used to fund.

What's different about Thank My Farmer

Chang told Cointelegraph that while the Thank My Farmer app is powered by the IBM blockchain, Farmer Connect is not part of the IBM Food Trust network, which is currently owned by more than 200 food vendors and retailers including Walmart and Carrefour Business composition. Chang explained that the app simply uses the same infrastructure as the Food Trust platform.

We extracted these technologies from the Food Trust network and placed them in an environment specifically designed for farmers to solve the problems of the coffee industry supply chain. Therefore, Famer Connect does not have to worry about the scalability and security of the network, as everything has been proven by the Food Trust.

Furthermore, Thank My Famer's goal is not just to test a new technology or concept, but to create a more sustainable ecosystem for coffee drinkers, farmers, businessmen and all other participants.

This is different from other blockchain-based solutions, which allow consumers to understand the source of a specific food by scanning a QR code. For example, European grocer supplier Love has added QR code technology to some of its products, but consumers can only see where these foods come from. Farmer Connect goes one step further and allows consumers to help farmers directly, which is unique to this blockchain application. Behrends further stated:

Thank My Farmer is an industry-leading project supported by the entire industry. Other companies in the industry are trying to do similar things to show consumers where food comes from, but we are also addressing the issues facing the coffee industry.

In addition, Farmer Connect is considering expansion into other food industries, such as tea and cocoa products produced by small farmers.