Designing Digital Tools for Coffee Producers
About 25 millions of small-scale farmers produce 80% of the world’s coffee production. For many of these farmers, coffee is the primary source of income and they heavily depend on it for their economic livelihood. Coffee production has historically faced several challenges to profitability, from a labor-intensive workforce to volatile market prices, which is why it’s critical for producers to have access to new tools and resources that can insulate against the economic shocks of the coffee trade.
Coffee is one of the few agricultural products whose price is based on qualitative parameters, and its value varies significantly as quality improves. Broad knowledge about techniques to produce high-quality coffee is indispensable for modern coffee growing. To effectively assess the success of new quality enhancing post-harvest practices, however, new management tools must be used to record and track data at each stage of production, from harvesting to processing.
Data collection can touch many aspects of the coffee production process, including monitoring harvest date, fermentation and drying times, and logging information about ambient temperature and weather patterns. Access to the right information can help prevent product spoilage (mold), contamination, and quality degradation, while also helping them increase the consistency of their output and its quality. It is essential that producers are given the right tools to learn how to record and analyze their data at every stage of the production process. By being able to distinguish what information is of value to them, they can better prepare to evolve and improve their farming business practices.
Despite the value data can provide to improve quality coffee production, many growers lack access to tools for data collection. Producers are often met with barriers to adoption such as a lack of advanced mobile technology or data collection methodologies.
In order to overcome these obstacles, we’ve designed a solution to service rural farming regions that can operate with limited network accessibility and without the requirement for data-intensive smart phones. Through SMS integrations and simple key-in prompts, we can utilize the tools readily available to producers for information dissemination and information collection. By contacting the CropConex service lines, producers can access an outline that compiles, tracks, and records data, checking and updating them regularly as conditions change and new information is acquired. By following these easy outlined prompts, producers can gain significant insight on how to improve their farming practices and economic sustainability.
For many, recognizing the importance of data and beginning to collect it will be the first step. This step to participate in digitized supply chains can further play a significant role to distribute, differentiate, and verify trade that takes place between stakeholders. As every step of the transaction is recorded, coffee producers can use this to communicate and authenticate the quality, origin, and pricing of their coffee to buyers. Bringing technology to the forefront of the conversation can enhance overall traceability, transparency, and trust along the supply chain. Producers can reap a multitude of benefits by taking this first step towards digitization on CropConex.