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Farmers Connect to create new blockchain coffee origin tracker

Benson Toti

Farmers Connect and Smucker’s, the parent company of Folgers coffee, announced they would work together on a new blockchain-based tracking system

IBM, Farmers Connect and Folgers coffee will be working to create a new blockchain-based QR code that will allow consumers to track the origin of 1850 coffee — the new platform will allow coffee buyers to see where the coffee was produced and processed.

The recent announcement from the three companies demonstrates that blockchain is still finding support from some of the biggest food companies in the US.

Smucker’s owns Folgers, although there are no plans to roll-out the tracking system for a company-wide scale for the moment.

IBM commented in the recent announcement, “Leveraging IBM’s blockchain technology, consumers can now trace their coffee back to its origin on a platform designed to help increase traceability, efficiency and fairness in the coffee supply chain.”

Blockchain works for the food supply chain

Farmers Connect is working to cut middlemen from agricultural supply chains and hopes that less intermediaries between producers and consumers will be beneficial for farmers, as many food producers don’t make the majority of the profits on their goods.

Blockchain can help people to know where the products they buy come from, and also ensure that supply chains adhere to international norms that govern fair trade, as well as human rights.

More transparent markets

According to a proposed class-action lawsuit filed against Nestle last year in a California Federal court, one of the world’s largest food companies has been using cocoa sourced from West African child slave labour for more than a decade.

Helen I. Zeldes of Coast Law Group, who is an attorney for one of the plaintiffs in the case commented that,

“For years, Nestle has reaped the benefit of affirmatively mislabeling products as sustainable and helpful to farmers when, in fact, they source their cocoa from farms that cause environmental devastation and use child slave labour.”

Blockchain based systems like the one that was just announced by IBM, Farmers Connect and Smucker’s would allow consumers to know where their purchases were sourced from, so they could avoid products that were produced by bad actors.

As blockchain can track multiple factors in near-real time, a QR code is a great fit for this project. Blockchain-based food tracking may also have a place in law enforcement — as the acts described in the lawsuit against Nestle are illegal in many nations where the company operates.

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