A vision built together: Fairfood and Cisco’s agri-food revolution in 2024

The Cisco Live Event took place last week, and for us at Fairfood seemed just a perfect moment to wrap up the past year together with this partner, and set the stage for what’s coming in 2024: we are not just envisioning change, we are making it happen.

Since our collaboration began back in 2021, Fairfood and Cisco have shared a common goal: to empower farmers and food workers while ensuring fair wages and ethical practices throughout the supply chain. It’s a mission rooted in the belief that traceability, transparency and data quality are not just buzzwords, but essential tools for building a better future.

To grasp the extent of the necessity of traceable and transparent supply chains, consider this data: according to research published by World Development, family farms produce around 80% of the world’s food value, with a staggering 35% being produced by smallholder farmers.
While such a big percentage of the food we consume everyday is produced by smallscale farmers, many of them suffer from income poverty, as highlighted by Mutabazi et al. (2015), which isn’t equivalent in all areas of production, but generally higher in agro-climatically less-favorable areas, making farmers even more vulnerable to climate change consequences. The notion of this extensive yet diverse scenario, in which smallholder conditions, needs and contributions widely vary between regions, underscored the need to obtain transparent data in order to build the most accurate picture of agricultural activities and be able to act accordingly. 

The growing consumer demand for ethically sourced products further fuels our ambition to create a more inclusive future through technology. Thanks to Cisco’s unwavering support, we were able to further develop and strengthen Trace, a groundbreaking blockchain platform that provides end-to-end visibility in the food supply chain. With Trace, we not only track products but also empower stakeholders with valuable insights to drive ethical business practices.

Worker Sorting Coffee Beans
Seeing the increased prices farmers get for their goods, or the data premiums that they’re receiving – that’s actual proven evidence of the impact of the work. Furthermore, what Fairfood is aiming for, is giving farmers access to their data and using that to give them a voice in their own future. This ties in very well with our goals to enable end beneficiaries to improve their own lives.neficiaries to improve their own lives.
Sue-Lynn Hinson, Grant Portfolio Manager at Cisco

Looking back on our journey so far, the impact speaks volumes. In 2023 alone, we contributed to the improved livelihoods of 30,000 farmers and their families through fair value redistribution programs. With Cisco’s backing, we expanded our technical capabilities, supporting 19 new partners and facilitating direct payment verification by farmers through our mobile app and NFC card system, making sure they receive the money they are entitled to. 

A crowning achievement of 2023 was our collaboration with Verstegen Spices & Sauces, where the platform was used to bring fully traceable nutmeg products into the EU market. Through innovative strategies like data premiums, participating farmers saw a 4% increase in payments, as highlighted in a case study by the Gates Foundation.

Strategic grants and partnerships, such as those with Cisco, are instrumental in scaling our platform and driving meaningful change. Together, we’re not just building a vision; we’re shaping the future of agri-food—one partnership at a time. The journey of Fairfood and Cisco exemplifies the power of collaboration in driving positive change. With technology as our ally to speed up development, and ethics as our compass, we’re charting a course towards a more sustainable and equitable future for all. As we look ahead to 2024 and beyond, let’s continue to dream big, innovate boldly, and work together to build a world where fairness and prosperity flourish in every corner of the agri-food industry.

It seems you also care about the people behind our food.

Stay up-to-date on socio-economic progress in our food system with Fairfood's bi-monthly newsletter!

Stay up-to-date on socio-economic progress in the global food system through our bi-monthly newsletter.