Increasing numbers of coffee growers in India are registering on a blockchain-based market platform launched by the Coffee Board of India (CBoI) in March this year. Latest reported figures suggest around 30,000 farmers are now active on the platform, signalling a significant increase on the 23 who were on-boarded during the initial phase.
Electronic trading opens up a wide export market for India’s coffee growers, bypassing tiers of agents:https://t.co/jGLxsg8tJO
— Down To Earth (@down2earthindia) November 11, 2019
When launched, the CBoI initiative, developed in association with Bengaluru-based Eka software, was the first recorded case in the country of a government agency using blockchain technology.
The online portal and mobile app were designed to allow coffee farmers to negotiate a fair price for their product by removing middlemen from the equation and allowing for offers of sale and counter-offers to be traded in real-time between the growers themselves directly with the roasters, curers, exporters and international buyers of the product.
YB Venkat Reddy, Technology Officer at CBoI, is quoted by DownTo Earth as saying “There is a huge global market for Indian Coffee. We are pushing farmers to join the platform, so they get better rates for their produce.”
While the portal offers transparent and immutable dealing for the market participants, the traceability of the bean-to-cup supply chain is also said to provide a legitimacy of sourcing presented in an easily auditable format.
Shuchi Nijhawan, Vice President, New Business & Global Human Relations at Eka Software Solutions, explained that “The contract captures counter party information, quality and quantity. The current smart contract has been made future ready to also include digital certificates and payment gateways in the next phase.”
It should be noted however, that despite improving the market mechanism to provide peer-to-peer trading without intermediaries, if the current legal situation remains as it is in India, those “payment gateways” will not include the freedom of choice to accept decentralised cryptocurrencies.