14 hours a day, back-breaking work in over 40℃ / 100℉ for 200 pesos/day (£3, US$4) 400 pesos if you’re lucky and have a carabao.
That is daily life for over 11 million Filipinos, about 27% of the total population which is almost the same as the 30% of all households who own agricultural land. This implies that farming in the Philippines is largely a family affair with farming families tending small individual plots of about 3 acres, or just over 1.2 hectares.
When dealing with those who are 14,000 kilometres away, how are we going to assure that what we're ordering is the "right stuff"?
Can we trust our suppliers?
There is a saying is German - "Vertrauen ist gut, aber Kontrolle is besser" - "Trust is good, but checks are better"
We send our "buyers" up the mountain armed with a bomb proof printer and an iPhone. The iPhone runs this app which we have written and prompts the coffee buyer to look for all the signs that what we are buying are grades 1-3. The higher the gade, the more the coffee is worth.
Education is the key. We've all heard stories of coffee being made up to the weight by adding stones or bulking the sacks out by adding corn!
The individual sacks will be labelled with these tickets showing what the coffee is, who grew it, where and how and a code. This code will identify that sack to an individual farmer. This is also an invaluable resource for the coffee roasters who will know from these figures exactly how to roast that batch to extract the best flavour.
Once the coffee has arrived in the UK and been roasted, it will be packed and a label on the back of each pack of coffee will show the buyer who grew the coffee, where it came from, the GPS of the farm (click on the image to see the map reference of this farm)
Bacofa Arabica, Mindanao
Not only consumers but the company therefore now has complete traceability of the product. From a consumers point of view this involves them in the "story" and improves confidence in their purchase.
From our point of view, we can ensure quality control.
The ultimate effect would be to use this traceability in a blockchain-like environment to secure this information and in turn provide a more reliable and dependable income for farmers