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Make Data Work for Producers

We will design producer-centred data ecosystems to enable environmentally sustainable and prosperous coffee farming communities.

Photo of Antonio Capillo
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Small producer organisations and their members are routinely required to share critical business information with sustainable trading initiatives and their commercial buyers along the supply chain to meet minimum compliance and transparency requirements. Whilst producers are generating this information in the first instance, they are not its primary beneficiaries and do not use it to inform their own business decision making processes! We will apply a combined service design approach – using Human-Centred Design (HCD) and Behavioural Economics (BE) insights – to contribute to the expansion of and integration of learning from an existing pilot (April-September 2018) supporting small coffee producer organisations in Latin America becoming more data-driven and adaptive creating more sustainable and thriving businesses in the long term. HCD IDEO approach is our main methodological framework, through the segmentation of the project into inspiration, ideation and implementation phases to allow prototyping and testing effective solutions whilst meeting producers’ primary needs & aspirations. BE is providing a complementary framework, used to refine our research tools and triangulate findings from in depth HCD process with key empirically tested and known insights on human thinking patterns. We envisage achieving a verifiable and long lasting impact in the three following areas: 1) We will provide novel and transferable insights on human barriers to sound decision making and test practical solutions to tackle them 2) We expect to observe significantly increased economic resilience of producer organisations, their members and communities 3) We expect to observe that entire targeted supply chains will experience higher value for money, multi-dimensional sustainability and economic/environmental efficiency Design solutions will be a combination of digital, analogue and communication means and will vary according to Producers' existing resources.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Coffee producers will be the primary beneficiaries of this project being enabled to more autonomously and effectively manage their farms. This will then lead to their farms becoming significantly more viable, sustainable and prosperous businesses in the long term. Households and communities of the producers will also benefit from this project through the generation of value-addition, improved livelihoods and sounder and more relevant social investment decisions of producer organisations. We will implement a thorough preliminary contextual and feasibility analysis to identify explicit subset of beneficiaries for the project to focus on – for example women and young coffee producers.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

First of its kind, this project will explore how to improve data-driven decision making processes and maintain high accountability standards whilst meeting producers’ primary needs, desire and aspirations. We are ambitious enough to believe this approach will in the longer term significantly contribute to re-balancing the socioeconomic impact of global value chains by transitioning current accountability-based management information systems into producers-centred models, designed to improve their farming business performance and capacity to adapt to a continuously changing commercial and sustainability landscape. We will also test a new model for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) units in the sustainable trading sector – from them being the only guarantors of accountability to them designing choice-architectures and enabling environments in which the final clients are also the primary users of the data they generate to support continuous improvement and sustainability activity.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.
  • Pilot: I have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Fairtrade Foundation ( Our vision is of a world in which justice and sustainable development are at the heart of trade structures and practices so that everyone, through their work, can maintain a decent and dignified livelihood and develop their full potential.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

We were inspired by one producer organisation which was sharing information with their members to influence data-driven and climate-adaptive farming behaviours. Although the approach was not formally human-centred, it was in essence, built on in depth understanding of their supply chains’ and farmers' needs. This highlighted to us an opportunity for broader system transformation to contribute shifting power dynamics while positively impacting on environmentally sustainable farming businesses.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Our idea bridges Planet and Prosperity in two critical ways. First, data-driven and adaptive decision making processes will bring about improved producers' business acumen, more efficient use of existing resources while timely supporting resilience to climate change and environmentally sustainable behaviours. Second, the human-centred design solutions boost the use of already available data and extract additional value from it so increasing the financial and social returns on investment (ROIs) of data ecosystems and reducing the ecological footprint of data collection activities within global value chains.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Fairtrade Foundation will partner with The Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fair Trade Small Producers and Workers (CLAC), which co-owns the Fairtrade International system. CLAC is the network that represents all organisations certified as “Fairtrade” in Latin America and the Caribbean. Its mission is to represent and promote the interests, empowerment and development of its members and communities. CLAC has over 800-member organisations in 24 countries across the continent. It is structured through Country Networks (that bring together producers of different products from the same country), Product Networks (that bring together producers with the same product, but from different countries), and a Workers Network. Fairtrade Foundation's long term involvement in international coffee trading and CLAC's understanding of and exceptional credibility among coffee producers in Latin America makes this partnership a critical element to project relevance, quality and success.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Our project will support coffee farming communities in Latin America producing and selling coffee on Fairtrade terms. This allows us to target small agricultural businesses already integrated in global value chains, and adhering to international standards for compliance transparency. This is a critical advantage for the project, which will build on existing data infrastructures and requirements, avoiding the risk of becoming an additional burden to producers' activity.

Geographic Focus

We are proposing to expand our current pilot in Central America.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

We are proposing the project lasts 30 months, so as to span at least two coffee harvest seasons and provide sufficient time-lag for the generation of verifiable results and learning. For this we are also proposing the design and implementation of a mixed-methods evaluative design, including the utilisation of in-depth qualitative methodologies combined with quantitative controlled quasi-experimental design, involving the generation of two panel data-sets in treatment and control communities.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Anjali Nayar

Hi Antonio Capillo - Great work! I'd love to know more about what data you are collecting and how (paper-based, form based or custom-based applications). We are working at the interface of producers and communities and I wonder to some extent if there might be some room for collaboration. You can check out our tools at or through our project listed in this challenge.

Photo of Antonio Capillo

Thank you Anjali. It is a combination of analogue and digital data collection methodologies and this project is about amplifying the value of existing information. Your proposed project looks very interesting too, I like especially the clear purpose of using timby technology. I will look more in details into your product, thanks for sharing the information!

Photo of Anjali Nayar

Hi Antonio,

Awesome -- do let me know. I'm not 100% sure if TIMBY is a fit for you, but I'd love to know more because the issue you are trying to tackle seems really important. Do keep me posted on whether we can help. We're also on

Photo of David Ezra Jay

Hi Antonio, I love coffee and smallholder farmers! Cool project.
How are you collecting data?

Here is a link to a cool startup. They are working in a similar space and maybe a good contact for you.

Photo of Antonio Capillo

Thank you @Ezra, I will check them out! This project does not involve additional data collection, instead prototype effective ways of using existing data :-)