INATrace - Digital transformation of coffee value chain in Rwanda

How we increased the transparency and quality assurance of a coffee supply chain by implementing a custom digital solution

A blockchain-based transparency and traceability solution that makes coffee traceable from 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 apr 2020 - may 2021

Angelique’s Finest (AF) is a Rwandan specialty coffee brand produced entirely by women in Rwanda. What makes this brand so special is the fact that a significant part of the proceeds remains for the producers, so financial independence of women farmers involved, is improved. Since AF is certified by Fairtrade International, and hence it’s important to ensure traceability, sustainability and quality assurance of the whole supply chain.

"Making supply chains more transparent using Blockchain."

The challenge: Traceability, sustainability and quality assurance of coffee

End consumers are becoming increasingly sensitive to the origin of products, going as far as actively searching for ethical, traceable, and sustainable products. At the same time, farmers and producers of coffee in Africa are only being paid a fraction of the product’s final price, despite women needing a stable income to take care of their families.

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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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    Transparency

    Transparency

    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 our partners Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) and Anteja ECG d.o.o., we developed a digital platform called INATrace. As well as improving transparency, traceability and tracking of Angelique’s Finest’s 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.

  • Application for end customers

    All that the end user needs is a modern mobile phone and internet access; simply scan the QR code on the product package.

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    Customer application

  • Transparency at a glance

    The complexity of the platform is fully hidden from the end user - one scan provides them with all of the information about their coffee’s journey.

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    Transparency at a glance

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

    All information and documents about each step and interaction along the coffee’s journey are presented in one place and stored in a blockchain.

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    Web application for documenting events

  • Simple user interface

    The user-friendly and powerful interface of the web application is optimized for tablets as well.

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    Simple user interface

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

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.

Testing application INATrace is available here; you can deploy your own instance by installing it from the source code on GitHub (respecting GNU Affero GPL v3.0 licence).

  • Value chain mapping

    The digitized supply chain presentation can be completely customized with tools that enable high level configurations.

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    Value chain mapping

  • Enable standardization

    Documents and data that are recorded when monitoring the material flow are standardized in a simple yet powerful way.

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    The beginning of standards

From a tech perspective, AF’s 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.

"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.

Project partners

  • 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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