First Mile: Farmer Accounts

GeoCertify offers private accounts for coffee farmers.

Many traceability systems, supply chain management systems, ERP systems, certification systems, and so on, do not provide farmer accounts.

Often these are internal systems developed and operated by a host organization, with no need or obligation to provide independent farmers with private accounts.

GeoCertify takes a different approach:  our founding vision is to use technology to strengthen local culture.  Usually we find technology homogenizing culture.  As young people flee their rural coffee communities to escape a life of grinding poverty and anonymity, we’re looking for ways to help get their product into the specialty markets where identity carries additional value.

We take the position that local culture is an under-developed asset that will increase in value as globalization advances.  We are attaching cultural identity to specialty products like coffee as a way of adding value, both to the coffee and to the culture.

In the world of coffee, this means helping sustain rural coffee farming and farming communities.  In particular, we’re referring to small-holder farming, typically of a few hectares or less.

Our priority has always been to provide tools to help farmers operate as profitable businesses–to get the technology into the hands of farmers and their communities.   Of the various factors in the “sustainability equation,” economic viability will always be a firewall metric.  So one of our primary goals is to plant seeds that will sustain the economic pillars of a farming community.

This means private farmer accounts.  Private business accounts are the essential first step toward providing any operational or financial tools and services that could help farmers–mobile payment systems, savings programs, access to credit, book-keeping and business analysis.

If we can achieve this first step, we will have plugged these farmers into a global communication system we can then use to build identity and deliver local cultural content.  Local culture can then begin to function as an asset contributing direct financial value to the community–something to be proud of.  At root, this is not a new idea–the wine industry of Europe has been functioning in this way for centuries.  Our goal is simply to leverage technology to accelerate the process.

Therefore, GeoCertify has built infrastructure and services to support millions of independent farmers.  Our 2018 Coffee Traceability program is aiming to set up 50,000 farmer accounts–5000 from each of 5 origin countries.  We have the first 5000 created in Rwanda, but that’s just a first step.  Now we’re testing the GeoCertify-Scan mobile app to capture the cherry transactions for each of these farms.  This sets the stage for the major harvests starting in October.

Next:  Living on a Technology Growth Curve.

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