Coffee traceability from farm to your cup
Coffee culture has boomed recently, with people of all ages drinking it and many coffee shops opening in every gallis of major cities in Nepal. Earlier, we preferred buying instant coffee from department stores. But as we are now familiar with the taste of our locally grown blended coffee we can’t be satisfied with the store-bought instant coffee. The domestic consumption of coffee is constantly growing. We all now drink coffee at home and also go to a variety of coffee shops, cafes, restaurants, and other eateries with our friends, families, or colleagues to have a perfectly brewed cup of himalayan coffee.
However, for a coffee lover like me, knowing more about my coffee like- where it was grown, how it was processed, and how it ended up in my cup is very important. Have you ever pondered, as I have, about the journey from the coffee farm to your cup while sipping a cup of coffee? What if I told you that you could get all this information about your coffee beans today, even before you buy it, only by scanning a QR code?
In this blog, I will introduce you to the present context of coffee production in Nepal, as well as the need of transparency and traceability in the industry, and how Agriclear, a mobile-based system is transforming Nepal’s current farming processes by utilizing blockchain technology to maintain traceability in agro-supply channels in the network, and how it is collaborating with Alpine Coffee Estate to make the coffee supply chain transparent.
Coffee production in Nepal
Coffee is a high-value commercial crop that was first planted in Nepal in the year 1938 AD. Despite the fact that coffee has been grown in Nepal for many years, commercial coffee production began in 1975 AD. Coffee can be grown commercially in a variety of places across the country but the organic coffee cultivation in the mid-hilly region, on the other hand, has a lot of potential as compared to other parts of Nepal. Gulmi, Palpa, Argakhanchi, Lalitpur, Tanahu, Kavre, Sindhupalchowk, Lamjung, Kaski, Gorkha, Syangja, Parbat, and other districts in Nepal’s central hilly region are among those where coffee farming has spread.
The mid-hilly region has the perfect climate, topography, soil, relative humidity, temperature, and rainfall for growing coffee beans. The height between 1000 and 1600 meters is regarded as ideal for cultivating coffee. Nepal’s main coffee export destinations are Japan, the United States, and Europe. This has now been expanded to include other parts from the globe.
Need of transparency and traceability
The coffee industry is booming, and is the largest agricultural commodity traded globally. The retail coffee industry, in the U.S. alone, is worth $18 billion annually. The global market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.7% by 2025. Coffee consumption is estimated to be around 2.2 billion cups a day.
With the increasing influence of western culture in Nepal, coffee demand and interest is growing by the day. According to the Nepal Coffee Producers Association, around 70% of the total coffee produced in Nepal is consumed domestically. In terms of coffee production, around 517 tons are produced each year. Small growers, producers, millers, exporters, importers, suppliers, and retailers are among the many stakeholders involved in the coffee supply chain. Many of them still lack valuable understanding about the best methods for harvesting coffee, as well as market, resource, and market access information. Inadequate post-harvest treatment frequently results in contamination, excessive use of pesticides and hazardous chemicals, spoiling, or even disease exposure, all of which result in a quality loss that could have been prevented. It is important to make the farmers aware about the coffee production process. They are usually paid a little percentage of the final product’s income, leaving them unable to cover production costs. Traceability and transparency help to ensure that coffee production benefits farmers and that the coffee on the market is of excellent quality.
The safety of the produced coffee has become one of the significant concerns among all the individuals across the globe. One of the major challenges these days is the lack of trust in the food industry. None of the customers would be willing to pay more for counterfeit goods. The food sector as a whole needs to gain trust in order to prosper. Traceability and transparency are needed in the food, coffee, and agriculture industries in order to gain consumer trust and ensure the product’s quality on the market.
Tracking Supply chain of Alpine Coffee using AgriClear
As coffee’s popularity grows, so does the supply. There are varieties of coffee in the market and it becomes difficult to choose which product meets the quality standards. Traceability and transparency of the coffee supply chain is the key to gaining trust of end-consumers. Traceability of coffee from the source to the market might sound difficult, but if done efficiently with the help of recent technologies, it ensures coffee quality and gives farmers’ coffee a distinct identity and competitive advantage. Rumsan Associates and the Alpine Coffee Estate are currently working together to track and trace every operation from the coffee production to market delivery by using the blockchain based platform — AgriClear designed and developed by Rumsan.
Alpine Coffee Estate sources its coffee from multiple farmers of Nuwakot and processes it in its warehouse located in Kathmandu Valley. Alpine Coffee Estate is tracking the supply chain of coffee, one step at a time. Firstly, it will focus on tracing the coffee processing details like harvest date, roast date, roast type etc and then the production details like fertilizer used, plantation date etc. Customers will be able to access all the information of the coffee supply chain, such as elevation the coffee is grown at, farmers involved in growing it, fertilizer/chemicals used, harvesting procedure, origin of the coffee etc. by scanning a QR code that comes with the product itself.
The use of blockchain technology allows for the traceability of coffee. AgriClear’s tracking and monitoring of good agricultural practices aids in the development of a distinct identity for coffee products. All coffee-related data is tracked in the system, ensuring traceability and increasing the brand’s appeal to customers in domestic as well as in the global market.
- “Nepalis wake up and smell (Nepali) coffee — The Kathmandu Post.” 22 Jul. 2019, https://kathmandupost.com/money/2019/07/22/nepalis-wake-up-and-smell-nepali-coffee. Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.
- “Nepal Coffee Overview.” https://library.sweetmarias.com/coffee-producing-countries/asia/nepal-coffee-overview/. Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.
- “Coffee Traceability: Everything About Bean to Cup — TraceX.” 24 May. 2021, https://tracextech.com/coffee-traceability-value-chain/. Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.
- “Coffee in Nepal: How Nepal learned to drink, and produce, the fancy ….” 20 Oct. 2021, https://english.onlinekhabar.com/coffee-in-nepal.html. Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.