2019 Special Project: Blockchaining a fairer cup of coffee
In the highlands of Ethiopia, home to farms producing some of the world's best Arabica coffee beans, smallholder farmers struggle to survive. Their crop may attract premium prices in cafes across the US, but these farmers receive just a small fraction of the price paid for a cup in a New York City cafe.
So how do you make the world's coffee supply chains a little fairer to the impoverished farmers who grow these beans?
Self Help Africa is supporting a new initiative that seeks to bring a little more balance to the coffee chain, by introducing increased transparency using blockchain technology while also helping to lift the productivity of these small Ethiopian coffee farms.
In so doing, we're aiming to double average farmer income from $480 to $1000 over the next three years.
Teaming up with a Dutch coffee company, Moyee, we're working with farmers in Limu and Jimma, in Ethiopia's south-west Oromia region. It's here, at altitudes above 1500m, that we can source coffee grown without the use of chemicals or machinery, resulting in half the carbon footprint of regular coffee.
This coffee is grown, roasted and bagged in Ethiopia, supporting five times more jobs than coffee whose value is exported raw.
FairChain farming means farmers and workers earn living incomes by managing profitable farms and getting involved in value added activities, to improve livelihoods and communities.
Your contribution tonight will allow us to invest in yield and quality increases (through farm training in good agricultural practices), capture more value from crops (through a farmer-owned washing station) while building a BlockChain platform to ensure 100% transparency for all involved in the coffee chain.
In partnership with Moyee Coffee and its Dutch-based donors, we will work with 350 coffee farmers, rising to 3,000 by 2020, purchasing their full harvest and paying a 20% premium above market price via a beta BlockChain platform.
We will build a 'washing station' to process coffee berries while expanding vocational training program to help smallholders implement improved and sustainable agricultural practices on their farms. Within five years, we aim to hand over ownership of the washing station to these farmers and their community.