Reworking sustainable meals programs by transparency and digital inclusion

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The Transformational Tech sequence highlights Cisco’s grant recipients that use expertise to assist rework the lives of people and communities. This weblog options Cisco’s partnership with Fairfood, a non-governmental group (NGO) based mostly within the Netherlands. In case you are enthusiastic about a deep dive on this partnership, please contact Sue-Lynn Hinson.

New analysis by the United Nations Meals and Agriculture Group exhibits that the world’s practically 500 million smallholder farmers produce round one third of the world’s meals provide. But lots of them stay on lower than USD $2 per day and might barely feed and maintain their very own households. Truthful and moral enterprise practices are a rising concern amongst shoppers; but many agri-food firms battle to construct model belief and show that they’re working sustainably, treating farmers and meals employees ethically and paying them a residing revenue.

Woman with a tablet in a field of crops

Fairfood has developed a blockchain-based expertise platform known as Hint with assist from Cisco. Hint allows full transparency throughout the meals provide chain, and gives knowledge, proof, and insights with which firms can develop applications and techniques to implement moral enterprise practices and enhance the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farmers and meals employees.

The connection between the client and the producer, to me, is crucial. It’s
good to have this transparency contained in the cooperative; to have the ability to present what we’re
doing with the espresso, each step of the method. It helps construct sturdy and reliable
relationships with consumers
—José Francisco Villada (Panchito), Espresso producer and co-founder of Capucas

Fairfood’s mission is to speed up change in direction of honest and sustainable meals worth chains, partnering with agri-food firms to develop progressive enterprise fashions that profit firms and cooperatives and allow honest worth distribution fashions that result in greater incomes for smallholder farmers. At the moment connecting greater than 300,000 farmers and their relations to the home and worldwide provide chains that form their future, Fairfood’s world operations span 17 nations and various commodities associated to the cocoa, espresso, spice, horticultural and fruit industries.

Fairfood’s partnership director, Peter van der Linde
Peter van der Linde, Fairfood’s partnership director

Fairfood’s partnership director, Peter van der Linde, shares the non-profit’s expertise evolution and the way its partnership with Cisco has helped it make vital developments in digital inclusion whereas defending knowledge privateness and safety and giving smallholder farmers management over their very own digital info.

What position does expertise play in Fairfood’s mission?

Bag of beans with QR code resting on top
Bag of beans with QR code

Expertise and digital inclusion are key. Having expertise that may assist securely hint the product from farmer to shopper, finish to finish, is invaluable to bringing optimistic change to honest and moral meals sustainability, constructing model belief amongst shoppers by provide chain transparency, and serving to us scale to market. Getting everybody on board, from the farmers to the cooperatives, to the manufacturers, retailers, and shoppers, is significant to creating actual change.

Fairfood adopts a partnership worth chain method to traceability, forming knowledge partnerships alongside worldwide meals corridors that profit all events, with a powerful deal with strengthening the place of farmers as a key a part of sustainability methods. Fairfood’s method is exclusive as a result of it’s centered on system change and centered on each product traceability and publicly verifiable model guarantees that may be linked to particular person merchandise that add tangible worth within the business market and assist to construct shopper belief. And the technical infrastructure that’s backed by the partnership with Cisco is crucial.

How has the assist of Cisco contributed to Fairfood’s expertise growth and the way vital has this been in advancing your technique?

With the assist of Cisco, Fairfood has strengthened its farmer-centric traceability answer that presently permits 46 firms to point out precisely the place merchandise come from and share proof for model guarantees publicly, whereas enhancing farmers’ incomes. The partnership additionally allowed us to develop a data-secure NFC (Close to Area Communication) card system together with a cell app for first consumers, that allows the event of monetary monitor data for farmers and group members who do not need a cellphone or a checking account. It’s used to securely digitize proof of money funds offline, guaranteeing monetary transactions can solely be verified by the approved customers.

Mobile phone being held in hand with Trace card in other hand and basket of product
Hint app in motion

Within the markets Fairfood operates in, this idea shifts the facility again to farmers and group members, permitting them to confirm that funds supposed for them are obtained, whereas guaranteeing they continue to be answerable for their very own knowledge. It additionally opens up the chance to make use of these data for monetary inclusion for farmers that do not need a checking account. “We’re exploring methods during which these digital monetary monitor data can be utilized for credit score scoring to assist safe fundamental loans for these farmers that had been beforehand out of scope. It’s an enormous alternative with a variety of potential and profit to each the unbanked farmers and monetary establishments”.

What are a few of Fairfood’s accomplishments/wins within the business to this point?

Bottle of nutmeg with Trace QR code
Nutmeg with QR code that can quickly be delivered to European market

Fairfood has a purpose to enhance the livelihoods of 1 million folks by 2025. One of many methods we’re making strides to attain this purpose is thru novel enterprise fashions. In 2022, Fairfood applied its farmer-centric traceability answer with Verstegen Spices of their nutmeg provide chain from Indonesia, with a brand new incentive construction whereby farmers are paid a premium for top-quality product, and moreover compensated for offering digital verification of funds obtained. This system had two pathways of change: one aimed toward demonstrating the enterprise case for totally traceable nutmeg merchandise, and the opposite centered on showcasing the potential of incentives to assist structurally enhance funds to farmers. The case bought highlighted within the report ‘In direction of a New Paradigm’ commissioned by USAID (DDI) and the Gates Basis.

Watch a quick video about this system.

The report highlights that after the preliminary hybrid financing mannequin (public-private), key events within the worth chain are prepared to proceed to cowl the working prices of the app/card system and maintain funds for each high quality and knowledge premiums. Farmer verified transaction data present that the standard and knowledge premiums continued to lead to an roughly $100 enhance in revenue per farmer per 12 months throughout the first 12 months after implementation (March 2022 – March 2023).

Find out how Hint is enabling full transparency for the provision chain.

What challenges/roadblocks does Fairfood nonetheless face?

Farmer checking his product by hand
Farmer checks high quality of their product

One of many greatest challenges Fairfood faces is to show the enterprise case for totally traceable merchandise, as an alternative of the market relying on present sustainability labels. We all know that a few of these labels may be deceptive, and many don’t show that farmers are being paid pretty (regardless of shoppers pondering that’s what these labels imply). So, bringing our farmer-centric traceability system and approaches to the forefront is essential to creating actual change in direction of sustainable and moral meals provide chains, shopper consciousness, and model belief. It takes time for folks to essentially perceive the facility of farm-to-fork traceability, however we’re starting to make inroads.

One other problem is with laws. Up till a number of years in the past, there was an absence of laws round moral and sustainable provide chains. We at the moment are seeing optimistic change on this space throughout governments in a number of nations and that is serving to us to select up steam in firms the place sustainability was not beforehand mission-critical to them. A remaining roadblock space is the shortage of knowledge, and that is the place we’re partnering with our cooperatives to assist them to digitize paper-based processes, for instance enhancing their farmer lists and by supporting them with means to digitize transaction data utilizing our app and card system. Typically it’s ranging from scratch, however as we accumulate knowledge by the Hint platform, we are able to facilitate actual change all through the provision chain and assist to guarantee that farmers are paid pretty for his or her merchandise.

How can shoppers assist Fairfood’s mission?

There are a number of methods shoppers will help with Fairfood’s mission in direction of a sustainable meals system.

  1. Schooling: Study what firms are supporting moral and sustainable meals practices. Being an knowledgeable, accountable shopper will help to affect the system as an entire and result in actual, actionable change. Go to the Fairfood web site for extra info.
  2. Get pleasure from coding? Become involved: For the tech-savvy, one option to become involved is to presumably assist Fairfood by open-source software program contributions. Attain out to Derek at, for extra particulars on how one can contribute on Hint cell.
  3. Join Fairfood to future partnerships: Know of any native firms enthusiastic about bringing totally traceable merchandise to shoppers? Attain out to Peter at,



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