At the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in the US, Farmer Connect and IBM announced a new consumer mobile application called "Thank My Farmer," which will allow coffee drinkers to trace their coffee to understand its quality and origin, and even support the farmer who grew the beans. Developed with leading companies across the global supply chain including Beyers Koffie, The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), ITOCHU Corporation, Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE), The J.M. Smucker Company, Rabobank, RGC Coffee, Volcafe, Sucafina and Yara International, Farmer Connect is a traceability platform powered by IBM Blockchain designed to help increase traceability, efficiency and fairness in the coffee supply chain.
Coffee drinkers today consume more than half a trillion cups per year, and as many as two-thirds of consumers aged 19-24 surveyed say they prefer to buy coffee that is sustainably grown and responsibly sourced. But despite progress by international certifying bodies, there still a lack of knowledge around the need for coffee farmers to earn a sufficient living for bringing their product to market.
Farmer Connect is introducing the "Thank My Farmer" app, a consumer-facing application that pulls information directly from the blockchain in a standardized way that can be used across the industry. It connects the user to farmers, traders, roasters and brands. The information is presented on an interactive map, allowing each product to tell a story in a simple and scalable way. The "Thank My Farmer" app also presents sustainability projects in coffee communities and an opportunity for consumers to support them.
The new mobile application will launch to the general market at the beginning of 2020. Users in the U.S. and Canada will be able to scan QR codes on 1850® brand premium single-origin coffee. European consumers will be able to access the "Thank My Farmer" app through a new single-origin brand, Beyers 1769, roasted at Beyers Koffie.
As the app expands in 2020, large and small companies will be invited to join, and coffee drinkers will be able to support the communities where their coffee is grown by funding local projects. Farmer Connect is currently incorporating self-sovereign identity, a new form of digital identity built on distributed ledger technology, in collaboration with the Sovrin Foundation. This closes the loop on a circular economy that will enhance smallholder livelihoods while delivering transparency and a better experience for the consumer.