On reaching a living income for Honduran coffee farmers
You’ve heard us talk about our 5-year-programme with Solidaridad and others before. Here to update you on its progress, we are sharing the story behind the work we are doing in Honduras.
Milestone alert: the first RECLAIM Sustainability! project has launched! The project, taking place in Honduras, ambitiously takes on increasing transparency in the coffee sector to make it more inclusive and fairer to the farmers. Together with some of the colleagues involved, we break down the work, goals and ambitions.
Building an innovative digital tech integration, this project aims to put farmers right back at the centre of the playing field. With the lack of access to finance and issues such as climate change, coffee farmers in Honduras have limited bargaining power and are often taken advantage of. Together with Solidaridad, we asked ourselves: How can we change that?
As part of the answer, we integrate Fairfood’s blockchain tool Trace and Solidaridad’s Farm Diary to enhance the transparency of the supply chain. By having all actors log their transactions in a digital ledger, a decentralised record is established that can be used to verify product claims. Say ‘fair price’ or ‘good quality’.
Transparency is a key issue in this programme. We are happy to establish this partnership with the Cooperative and also to work with the key national stakeholder partners to influence the country’s policy agenda and achieve a better positioning of coffee producers, especially women producers.
In line with that, the innovation allows us to make sure that the farmers are paid the agreed price. It is becoming ever more evident that farmers are struggling. The prices they are currently being paid, often aren’t enough to earn a living income. By raising prices, we can make sure they are able to support themselves and their families. The tech allows for a verifiable transaction log to check that they have actually received the agreed price, with which they regain some power and are in a better position to respond to climate change and therefore remain competitive.
Still, we haven’t touched upon the main goal for this project, namely proving the business case for transparency through tech integration. Because we won’t rest until the main market players in the coffee sector have adopted transparency as a standard practice. This does not only benefit the farmers – although they will need it the most – but also allows companies to have proof of claims, quality assurance and a transparent supply chain that allows them to make use of the story of the journey of their product.
We are excited to get things up and running, together with our partners from the Solidaridad team in Central America. This project has great potential to prove the value of transparency and traceability in the coffee sector. Most important to us is that our technologies directly benefit the farmers participating in the pilot. By enabling them to be in the driver seat and recognised as a valued supply chain actor, they regain bargaining power, are able to remain competitive, and ultimately earn more money.
Because we have news for you: Farmers living in poverty is not sustainable. Increasing their bargaining power, including them in the decision-making process (giving them a voice) and having them earn a living income – that is where sustainability starts. That also means that they are a recognised part of the supply chain. By targeting the lack of fair value distribution, inclusion, transparency and traceability, our partnership is aiming to make the coffee supply chain in Honduras and Uganda more sustainable and fair for all actors and leading to transformative change towards genuine sustainability.
The value of transparency is becoming increasingly more clear. What we can really do here, is proof that it adds value to all actors in the supply chain – not in the very least farmers. Through projects like these, we can inspire more companies to make change happen.