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Enhancing transparency and sustainability of coffee value chains in Rwanda (Part 1)

With corporate due diligence legislations on the rise in Europe and consumer demands for greater supply chain transparency, large companies are compelled to address negative human rights and environmental impacts in their global supply chains. These companies need to be able to collect, retrieve and evaluate information about their products and production conditions along the supply chain in real time. INATrace, an open source traceability system based on blockchain technology, was developed by Anteja on behalf of the Initiative for Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains (INA) to make agricultural commodities traceable from production up to the final product. It not only promotes trust and security between trading partners but also enhances the efficiency of supply chains, which in the long run should increase farmers’ incomes and a contribute to women’s empowerment. INATrace helps European companies collect, retrieve and evaluate information about their products and production conditions along the supply chain in light of the corporate due diligence legislations on the rise in Europe. It is free to use, adaptable, transferable and scalable.

For the first time, INATrace was successfully implemented for Rwandan coffee value chains with the aim to empower women’s coffee cooperatives and to increase coffee value chain transparency. Together with INA and partners the International Women’s Coffee Alliance and Rwanda Smallholder Specialty Coffee Company (RWASHOSCCO), we worked to:

  • improve supply chain traceability
  • create transparency between the actors along the supply chain in regard to supply chain processes, product quality and prices paid to local producers
  • make this information available also to end consumers through a scannable QR code on the coffee packages.

Through efficiency gains along the value chain and a greater awareness, an increased farmers‘ income and a contribution to women empowerment is intended in the long run.

Our work included technical implementation, testing, software maintenance and preparation of training materials and documentation. First, the value chain was mapped from women coffee growers to end coffee consumers in Germany to define the visual prototype concept and prioritization of functionality. Technical implementation included several rounds of iterations to develop the MVP prototype, beta version, and the final solution. The final result is an open-source blockchain-based track and trace system. The system provides blockchain verified information on provenance and sustainability attributes to members of the value chain and consumers. The application allows German companies to demonstrate their compliance with the upcoming EU and German due diligence legislations.

Client: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Date: 2020

Read more about INATrace in Rwanda on the INA’s website.

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