Q&A WITH IFINCA
Platforms like iFinca can increase transparency across the coffee supply chain. More accurate information on pricing can help farmers receive more for their crop, but it also supports every member of the industry to value coffee accurately. In turn, we can better communicate this value to roasters, café owners, baristas, and consumers.
To learn more, we sat down with Justin Dena, Chief Operating Officer at iFinca, a PRF 2021 Silver Sponsor. Read on to learn more how the iFinca platform improves transparency and connectivity along the coffee supply chain.
WHAT ARE IFINCA’S MAIN OBJECTIVES FOR 2021?
“For 2021, iFinca will be focused on growth,” Justin says. “This means capitalizing on the network effect to include more importers, roasters, cafes and improve consumer awareness.”
The iFinca app uses blockchain technology to verify a coffee’s prices from farmgate and beyond, all the way along the supply chain. Everyone who buys that coffee can then access this information, from the exporter and roaster to the café owner and even the consumer.
Justin tells us that 2021 will bring more features to the iFinca ap. “The mobile app will have new innovative features, including smart contracts,” he explains. “We are very excited to be collaborating with CoffeeChain Group to provide a complimentary global farmgate price for all platform users. We believe that through farmgate price transparency, we can work towards paying ethical prices directly to farmers.”
HOW DOES IFINCA WORK TOWARDS IMPROVING THE COFFEE SECTOR?
”The coffee industry is plagued with information failure,” Justin says. “This results in estimated annual losses in the billions. Buyers and sellers of green, roasted, and brewed coffee are at constant risk of overpaying for unproven claims of sustainability.”
He adds that there’s often “a lack of timely and accurate information, especially between exporting and importing countries”.
”We believe that our third-party validation of sustainability and pricing claims, as well as sharing the farmgate price, gives all industry players a competitive advantage in a mature market,” Justin says. “iFinca supports the roasters who face demands from their clients and the final consumer to eliminate ‘greenwashing’. [We support this] with third-party validation of their claims of sustainability and ethical sourcing.”
HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED A CHANGE IN THE DEMANDS FOR A COFFEE TECH PLATFORM IN RECENT YEARS? HOW HAS IFINCA ADAPTED TO MEET THESE DEMANDS?
Through 2020, the coffee sector has been forced to operate in a different and unprecedented way. Justin notes that iFinca saw the need to adapt the way that business was conducted around the world, particularly through the use of new technologies and digital platforms.
He says: ”We have seen a huge demand in the need for tech platforms to digitize services and provide a direct connection for buyers to coffee producers.
”We have continued to work towards optimizing the platform and onboarding new stakeholders across the supply chain. Currently, eight countries are optimized to export on our platform, and we are working quickly to add more.
“We are excited about this upcoming year and the continued incredible growth opportunities for the iFinca platform.”
HOW DOES IFINCA SUPPORT ROASTERS AND PRODUCERS AS A TRACEABILITY TOOL?
The iFinca app can be downloaded by any member of the coffee supply chain. Justin highlights the value this has for different actors across the supply chain. ”Any producer can easily download the app,” he says. “This allows them to participate as an equal stakeholder in the supply chain process. This first-mile connectivity allows roasters to reach a level of traceability that has previously been unavailable.
“The app collects data at every stage along the supply chain, providing a complete picture of the coffee journey from farm to roaster, and even ultimately to the consumer. Roasters can easily pass this information onto brands and coffee shops with a ‘Meet the Farmer’ QR code.”
WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT IFINCA’S APP/BUSINESS MODEL?
”Our app is the only native app that can work with the existing supply chain to directly connect with global coffee producers,” Justin explains. “There are many features of our platform that set new industry standards; for example, iFinca’s independent third-party validation protects both buyers and sellers of coffee products from the downside risk of ‘greenwashing’.”
Photo credits: iFinca