INATrace - Digital transformation of coffee value chain in Rwanda

How we increased the transparency and quality assurance of a coffee supply chain with blockchain solution

We developed a blockchain-based transparency and traceability technology, that makes coffee traceable from its production to the final package. The system confirms the coffee’s origin and quality, together with the fairness of its value chain, by tracking it all the way from the farmer to the end consumer.

Project duration may 2020 - may 2021

Since the introduction of coffee trees to Rwanda by missionaries in 1904, coffee has progressed to become one of the country’s largest cash crops and a patchwork of 450,000 small growers produce coffee all across the country.

There exist a Rwandan specialty coffee brand produced entirely by women in Rwanda. The brand is certified by Fairtrade International, so it’s important to ensure traceability, sustainability and quality assurance of the whole supply chain. An esential part of their strategy is to make sure that significant part of the proceeds remains for the producers, so financial independence of women farmers involved, is also improved.

"Making supply chains more transparent using Blockchain."

The challenge: Traceability, sustainability and quality assurance of coffee supply chain

Why is it important? End consumers are becoming increasingly sensitive to the origin of products, going as far as actively searching for ethical, traceable, and sustainable products on the market. On the other side farmers and producers of coffee in Africa are only being paid a fraction of the product’s final price.

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    Blockchain technologies

    Blockchain technologies

    All the supply chain transaction data are now stored on a blockchain.
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    Digital transformation

    Digital transformation

    The system gathers all key information and interactions related to the order in one place.
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    The use of innovative technologies increases transparency for all actors in the supply chain.
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    User experience

    User experience

    All the production and delivery information is avaliable to the consumer through a QR code on the product packaging.

The solution: Digital transformation of the supply value chain with an open-source blockchain technology

Together with Anteja ECG d.o.o., we have developed a digital platform called INATrace for the client Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ). As well as improving transparency, traceability and tracking of the coffee value chain, the solution also aims to empower women farmers in Rwanda.

INATrace covers all segments of the coffee value chain and is made up of four core building blocks: information system, blockchain nodes assisted by Hyperledger Fabric, web, and mobile applications.

  • Transparency at a glance with application for end customers

    The complexity of the platform is fully hidden from the end-user. Simple smartphone scan of the QR code on the product package provides all the information about your favourite coffee’s journey.
    Simple user interface of web application for documenting events

Blockchain technology (in this case assisted by Hyperledger Fabric) is the perfect solution for tracing products back to their origin. With their smartphones, end customers can simply scan the QR code added to the product and get comprehensive information about its sustainability, ethnical origin and quality, including pricing structure and parties involved in the supply chain. They can even tap into documents, certificates and other multimedia materials attached to the product.

  • Web application for event documentation with a simple user-friendly interface

    All information and documents about each step and interaction along the coffee’s journey are presented in one place and stored in a blockchain. The user-friendly and powerful interface of the web application is optimized for tablets as well.
    Customer application

This solution enables customers to select the most sustainable product and understand its impact and pricing structure. They’re also able to get in contact with producers and distributors of the coffee brand.

The result

Within the project, we’ve focused on tracking and digitalizing the material flow of coffee. Although backward traceability is not yet possible, we have ensured that the material flow is transparent all the way along the value chain.

From a technical perspective, observed supply chain is very similar to other coffee producers/distributors and mostly differs in coffee grinding locations and drying and sampling processes.

We carefully modeled the digitalization of the supply chain with sustainability in mind, so it can be easily reused and configured for other coffee value chains and even other (bio-) industries.

You can deploy your own instance by installing it from the source code on GitHub (respecting GNU Affero GPL v3.0 licence).

  • Customized value chain mapping and standardisation

    The digitized supply chain presentation can be completely customized with tools that enable high level configurations. Documents and data that are recorded when monitoring the material flow are standardized in a simple yet powerful way.
    Customer application

"INA in Rwanda: blockchain solution enables digital traceability for coffee grown by women."

Projects like these show the importance of digitalization and the use of cutting-edge technologies for improving value chains, assuring fair payment and high-quality standards, and educating end-users on the importance of their purchasing decisions.


  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, sector programme for Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains and Standards (GIZ)
  • Anteja ECG d.o.o.

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