Coffee’s supply cycle has historically dealt with logistical inefficiencies, siloed information, and a lack of transparency, all of which contribute to the larger issue of economic inequity for farmers. Technology like CropConex’s end-to-end platform can be the remedy for many of the supply chain’s complex obstacles. When technology is introduced to actors in the supply chain, we begin to see positive change in the form of:
- Greater traceability — Access to vital pricing, distribution, and agricultural data leads to greater information transparency, ensuring all parties can trace a crop’s transaction history, distribution journey, and final price throughout the supply cycle.
- Reduced inefficiencies — Active data management provides opportunities for supply chain optimization, automation, and monitoring, resulting in fewer cross-border obstacles and unforeseen expenses each time coffee changes hands.
- Transparent communication — Much of coffee’s existing supply chain challenges are derived from siloed communication due to outdated manual data collection processes, language barriers, and complicated systems. Technology promotes a constant flow of communication and builds trust between all parties.
- Improved economic equality — As inefficiencies are resolved and transparency is enhanced, more money is reinvested into crop longevity, enhanced quality, and improved producer livelihoods.
If we all worked together, technology can have massive, long-term impacts on coffee’s supply chain.
Closing the Gaps
Coffee’s existing value chain is full of gaps. Knowledge gaps. Process gaps. Production gaps.
These gaps are the result of decades of logistics challenges, siloed communication, and a lack of transparency. These gaps are the root cause of economic inequality in the coffee supply chain.
If farmers cannot see the price their crop fetches when sold to roasters, how will they know how to price their coffee the next year? If importers can’t accurately track shipments, how will they develop effective, long-lasting relationships with producers, exporters, and roasters?
Data acts as the bridge that connects the gaps and leads to a prosperous industry for all.
When the archaic barriers to international trade are broken down and remedied, everyone can realize the economic benefits of the supply chain.
For instance, agricultural and financial data collected from a washing station can be the key that unlocks unlimited potential for producers. This data can provide answers about crop yield, quality, and pricing. With this information immediately available, producers then have the power to build sustainable businesses, price products accordingly, and engage in transactions that fairly benefit them, their staff, and their communities.
Beyond the farm, greater data transparency and access opens the door for optimized trade routes, accurate warehouse management, and enhanced farming practices—all of which lead to lower costs and higher income for the entire supply chain. Imagine the possibilities if millions of dollars weren’t lost to logistical inefficiencies in coffee’s value cycle.
When technology is implemented across the value cycle, we all prosper.
It Takes a Village
While the positive long-term impacts of implementing technology are idyllic and possible, accomplishing this global objective requires the effort of all. Everyone from producers at origin to roasters must commit to implementing, recording, and sharing data across coffee’s supply chain.
Although the benefits of technology can have an impactful ripple effect, establishing technology at one part of the supply chain only goes so far. In some cases, this means meeting individuals and actors in the supply chain where they are. This may mean going onsite to aid those in remote locations or with minimal access to technology, demonstrating how to access and input data via the devices available.
CropConex established an office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for this exact reason—to directly help farmers, producers, and other actors in the supply chain gain access to and implement technology into their processes. To this end, CropConex became the first licensed E-Commerce Platform Operator business in the nation in November 2022.
Through such an e-commerce platform, every member of the supply chain can interact with coffee’s value cycle. Producers, international buyers, roasters, and logistics providers can all collaborate on a single platform—effectively eliminating inefficiencies and directing funds to the proper places, resulting in enhanced wages for all.
The Future of Coffee
At CropConex, we believe coffee’s future lies in the implementation of technology. When everyone can equally and fairly participate in trade, both locally and globally, there is unlimited potential for collaboration, discovery, and prosperity.