What if we could influence the way coffee is traded?
Everyone is crazy about coffee, everyone has an idea about what to drink and how to drink their favorite coffee. Let’s take a look at the coffee industry from work currently made in Kenya with local NGOs and businesses. Coffee Industry 4.0 states that all the systems are interconnected for the benefit of the customer.
However, there is a tendency to consider the coffee as the raw material and to forget that there are people behind the raw materials: the farmers.
When we speak about our favorite coffee we usually think about Italian or Swiss coffee. Indeed the following countries export the highest $ value worth of coffee: Germany(#3 worldwide), Switzerland (#4), Italy (#6) and France (#7) even though they do not grow coffee. It is a very valuable industry to be in. Actually, more than $ 1 billion was invested in 2018 in coffee related start-ups in the US. You only need 6-7g of coffee to make an espresso that will be sold for $2-6. A rough estimation shows that a kg of coffee can bring $500.
On the other hand, a small scale farmer (that constitutes 60% of the coffee growers) will have to sell the cherries for less than $1 per kg. Clearly, there is some lack of balance in the value chain.
At this point, people usually say that this is the reason why we have fair trade coffee, except that small scale farmers cannot afford to enter this path and get the fair trade certificate.
A good example is what actually happened in Denmark, where the biggest cooperative COOP, has set up an installation in Kenya for processing coffee to cut off all the intermediaries.
TOP (Technology of Peace) is talking about changing the whole system by connecting the dots, setting-up this ecosystem that brings value to the process. In this ecosystem, you have the farmers, working hard to have the coffee plants grow. You also have some NGOs that are helping farmers in terms of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and to grow organic coffee as well as bring them some mixed farming (permaculture).
For instance, with an organic fertilizer that can be made locally, some farmers were able to turn 200 trees giving 300 kg to 4.000 kg within 3 years.
There is also an IT company (GoIP), which is a TOP partner, that has developed NERVE platform to connect farmers to relevant partners (e.g. agronomists) ,buyers.
Farmers switch from a needy/victim situation to a leading situation where they have a say to their situation.
With the collaboration between TOP, GoIP and GDE, we are setting up the rules for each actor, what kind of value they should get. Data from each actor is gathered by the system so that it will be possible to answer the request of a Swedish company to a Kenyan Coffee factory:
“We want to buy organic coffee from farmers who give a decent salary to women”
Imagine that next to your cup of coffee, there is a bar-code delivering you the traceability of the coffee (from #farm to #cup) so that you know that by buying this coffee, for instance you help with SDG1 (no poverty), SDG5 (gender equality), SDG 10 (reduced inequality) and SDG13 (climate action).
TOP Global is the distributor of GDE in Kenya and in Israel.
Eyal Bloch and Philippe Scheimann initiated TOP Global in 2014 and TOP Kenya started two years after in cooperation with 6 NGOs and companies (Elimu TV, KWEN, RODI, SCOPE, Shofar, YARD) that have gone through Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) training. In 2017 and in 2018, TOP led several “Connectedness and Leadership” courses for social entrepreneurs affiliated to TOP Kenya combining ESD, open source technology and permaculture.
TOP is designed and developed as a social and business initiative, growing upcycle platform with a lively network of people, NGOs and businesses helping each other in sustainable development.
TOP aims to share the proper conditions and tools to create a community for people, businesses and organizations, where they participate in an ecosystem of shared knowledge, tools, resources, energy and inspiration, and cooperate to build and grow well beyond their individual capacities.