Indian Coffee goes the blockchain route
Blockchain, a distributed digital ledger technology (DLT) has many uses like powering crypto currencies, helping manufacturers improve their supply chain handling and management, making transactions of healthcare, electricity and financial sectors more transparent..
Today, blockchain has become an important emerging technology in many industries for its promise of transparency and traceability..
Coffee, is a beverage made by percolation, infusion, or decoction from the roasted and ground seeds of a coffee plant..
Although no one knows exactly how, when or where coffee was discovered, there are many legends about its origin..
Ethiopian coffee history and legend has it that Kaldi a goat herder from Kaffa in current Ethiopia (ancient Abyssinia) discovered some red berries which made his goats energetic when they ate it.. A monk from a local monastery tested it by making a drink from these berries..
Yemen’s coffee history and legend history has it that coffee was ‘discovered’ by Sheik Abou’l Hasan Schadheli’s disciple, Sheikh Omar, who was living as a recluse in Mocha, Yemen..
As per the legend, on the verge of starvation, Omar tried to eat some red berries he found, but since it was too bitter to eat raw, he put them in the fire to roast which hardened the berries, which he then tried to soften by boiling it in water thereby creating the first decoction of coffee..
Whether coffee originated in Ethiopia or Yemen, the term coffee as we know it is said to have been derived from Arabic Qahwah meaning “a drink from berries“..
The journey of coffee to India is said to have been courtesy of an Indian Sufi saint, Baba Budan.. Baba Budan was on a pilgrimage to Mecca and he came into contact with the Mocha coffee beans in Mocha, a port city of Yemen..
Finding the drink refreshing, he is said to have smuggled seven coffee beans from Mocha by strapping them to his chest and planting them in his hermitage in Chikmagalur, Karnataka – the birthplace and origin of coffee in India..
Thus began the journey of coffee in India..
Today, India is home to 16 unique coffee varieties, grown under a canopy of thick natural shade in ecologically sensitive regions of the Western and Eastern Ghats.. India is said to be the only country in the world where entire coffee is grown under shade, handpicked and sun dried..
So what is the connection between Blockchain and Indian Coffee..??
Well, The Coffee Board of India launched a pilot program of the country’s first blockchain-based marketplace app for trading in Indian coffee..
Based on its promise of transparency, this blockchain pilot project is aimed at getting coffee growers better returns by removing middlemen in the supply chain..
Although this initiative “Coffee Blockchain initiative” was announced by Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Union minister for commerce and industry, in Delhi in September, 2018, it took more than six months to go live because “There were more than 20 stakeholders from three different countries. We had to get all of them on board, and then test the platform.
We believe this is perhaps only the third attempt at a coffee blockchain after France and Ethiopia,” as per Mr. Srivatsa Krishna, chief executive officer and secretary of the Coffee Board of India..
Commenting on the initiative, Mr. Manav Garg, the CEO and founder of Eka Software Solutions who developed the blockchain-based solution, said the idea of using blockchain was to “record the first smart contract on a blockchain with the 20-odd stakeholders, and establish trust in the marketplace”.
“With this activation, we are confident that the Coffee Board of India will help the Indian coffee trade make more inroads into the premium market internationally and make India one of the top three coffee producers in the world,” Garg added.
In a statement, the Ministry of Commerce in India commented that “The blockchain will also reduce the number of layers between coffee growers and buyers and help farmers double their income“..
“This pilot project will help integrate the farmers with markets in a transparent manner and lead to realisation of fair price for the coffee producer,” Commerce Secretary Mr. Anup Wadhawan said in the statement..
As per the statement, the ultimate aim of this blockchain-based marketplace app is to bring in transparency in coffee trade and maintain the traceability of Indian coffee from bean to cup so that the consumer tastes real Indian coffee and the grower is paid fairly for his produce..