Blockchain: a vision for a sustainable, productive, transparent and regenerative coffee supply chain in 2050.
The project intends to increase income for producers and promote sustainable practices via traceability with blockchain network.
Lead Applicant Organization Name
Quipo Tecnologia Soluções Blockchain
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Small company (under 50 employees)
If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.
Quipo Tecnologia Soluções Blockchain is a startup company made up with a mulidisciplinary team that is being developed in the Laboratório Nacional de Computação Científica - LNCC, located in Petrópolis, state of Rio de Janeiro - Brazil.
Our vision was inspired and developed with the help of many partners:
Fundação de Desenvolvimento e Inovação Agro Socioambiental do Espírito Santo - FUNDAGRES INOVAR.
Fundação Museu do Homem Americano - FUMDHAM.
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz - FIOCRUZ.
Universidade Federal Fluminense - UFF.
Laboratório Nacional de Computação Científica - LNCC.
Website of Legally Registered Entity
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
Region of Matas de Minas, east of the state of Minas Gerais, covers a total area of 2750km²
What country is your selected Place located in?
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
“Quipo Tecnologia Soluções Blockchain” is a startup company made up of a multidisciplinary team, whose vocation is to apply their multiple knowledges to create innovative technologies for the development of society. Part of its members are deeply connected with the Matas de Minas region, a traditional area for the production of specialty coffees. It is constituted by 63 municipalities, located in an area of Atlantic Forest, in the state of Minas Gerais - Brazil.
In the past, they were in charge of their family’s production of Arabica coffee in Manhuaçu (Sítio Bem Posta). There was always a concern to develop a sustainable, economically viable and welcoming farm for the local population, with good agricultural and labor practices. The region is marked by the predominance of family farming and its direct and indirect economic and social impacts, as well as by the typical connection between human and nature, which are cultural factors present in the coffee production of many properties.
The understanding of the challenges faced daily by small coffee producers, especially concerning their economic sustainability and evasion of their people from the rural areas, reverberate up to now, even after the members of Quipo distanced themselves from the land as a productive mean due to the investment in academic careers in the Science and Technology field.
The shared desire of the members of the startup to bring the scientific and technological knowledge and the experience as coffee growers to the Local Productive Arrangement (LPA) that they were once a part of enabled the making of this Vision: a more profitable, sustainable and reliable system for agricultural products, for those who consume what is produced and for the environment in which they live.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Quipo Tecnologia members talking to coffee producers.
Quipo Tecnologia members talking to coffee producers.
Quipo Tecnologia members talking to coffee producers.
Coffee plantation in the Region of Matas de Minas.
Workers sifting coffee grains. Photo taken by Sebastião Salgado.
Main church in the city of Manhuaçu.
Main church in the city of São João do Manhuaçu.
Also known as Zona da Mata Mineira, the region is located on the east of the state of Minas Gerais. The main biome is the Atlantic Forest, one of the great Brazilian biomes and one of the richest forests in terms of diversity of life on the planet, hence the importance of maintaining agricultural production rates compatible with the Forest's recovery and preservation rates.
As it is an extensive area, comprising 63 municipalities, we can notice a variation in the characteristics of cities and people's behavior, depending on the size, main economic activity, presence of universities, among other factors.
However, a common trait among Minas Gerais’ citizens is the appreciation for tradition. The state's rich past is reflected in the architecture of historic cities, which mix colonial buildings from the time mining was the main source of income in the country with contemporary buildings. The preservation of old churches, filled with baroque art, is sample of the religiosity of these people.
With a very peculiar topography, the region presents rugged terrains, which makes the local production a true mountain coffee culture. The altitudes range from 400 to 1500 meters, whereas the high humidity favors the filling of the grains. This combination of factors makes the region of Matas de Minas the closest to what we can call artisanal cultivation.
The local economy is heavily based on agriculture, which accounts for 19% of the GDP in Matas de Minas, 16% of which comes from coffee production, responsible for generating 75 thousand direct jobs and 156 thousand indirect jobs (http://www.matasdeminas.org.br, 2019). Many rural areas and smaller towns, however, lack investment in infrastructure, leisure and opportunities, as a way to avoid evasion of the countryside and improve the lives of those who produce so much for the country.
Coffee cultivation takes 30.24% of the total area of the Matas de Minas region, with meadow covering the largest portion of the land, 37.97%. The forests are currently present in only 19.79% of the area. In this scenario, amidst paradisiacal landscapes and stretches of Atlantic Forest still preserved, the state of Minas Gerais and its many coffee producers are faced with the challenge of maintaining their original biodiversity with the agriculture established there.
What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
The challenge for coffee growing is to reduce environmental impacts and expand carbon sequestration. Agriculture and deforestation account for 80% of greenhouse gas emissions in Brazil, according to the Ministry of Agriculture (2019).
In 2020, the challenge for the Matas de Minas region is to recover and increase the areas of the Atlantic Forest, decreasing the pasture area, and in 2050 it is to maintain the Atlantic Forest areas in coexistence with coffee production guided by the principles of sustainability.
Since 2015, the substance glyphosate, widely used in coffee growing, is considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) as "probable carcinogen". Brazilian coffee, In 2020, the challenge for the Brazilian coffee production is to reduce the use of glyphosate, since it has already been facing barriers in the European market and by 2050 eliminate the use of herbicides proven to be harmful to human health demonstrating its good practices in free-from-contaminants cultivation.
According to Carlos Brando, president of the global board of the Global Coffee Platform (GCP), out of the US$200 billion paid by coffee consumers worldwide, only 14 billion go to the 50 million people who depend on coffee for their living. Breaking down, that would mean US$25 per month.
The challenge in 2020 is to create mechanisms that add value to agricultural activity with a real increase in producer’s income and by 2050 it is to systematic review these mechanisms based on the results verified over the years.
The lack of educational centers that focus on thinking “agro-culture” is a problem. Through education it is possible to look from a more analytic and mature perspective to familiar places and see the reasons and impacts of characteristics that were once thought as an innate part of the people’s behavior. The study of such theme would create a new bond with the region; it would reacquaint those people with themselves.
In 2050, the expansion and development of Matas de Minas and the global thinking that will inevitably come must grow alongside a sense of local identity and the roles of each one in this bigger scenarium.
Agriculture is increasingly becoming 4.0.. In 2020, the challenge is the connectivity of rural properties and the enabling of the adoption of new technologies that might be too expensive today. In 2050 the challenge is permanent innovation in the field, not only in the technological area, but also with the development of new cultivars adapted to the climate conditions of the planet.
The challenge in 2020 is the interaction of the many players (government, civil society and productive arrangement) and consistent, long-range public policies for the development of sustainable agricultural activity amid the vicissitudes derived especially from possible and unexpected climate changes. In 2050, the challenge will be a systematic review of the policies implemented based on the results verified over the years.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
In the coffee production supply chain, 80% of everything produced comes from family farming and, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture of Brazil, the chain employs more than eight million people. That means that coffee is an important source of income for the country.
Regarding all the challenges shown above, mainly the climate one, there is a concern with the devaluation of the small producer as it becomes more expensive to make cultivation viable and thus an intensification of social inequality, in which only the large producers would be able to stand out. That is not positive, not even for the big players in the sector that buy from small and medium producers. The solution of these problems for us involves the adoption of a traceability tool based on blockchain technology. The Blockchain network securely records the real history of the product batch, from the farm to the table of the consumer.
Blockchain is a set of computer science techniques that bring together concepts of cryptography, data structure and computer networks. It creates a decentralized and immutable network of records, in a faster, more efficient and more reliable and auditable process, making the detection of inconsistencies in the production process much simpler.
The practicality of having access to all information in the chain is undeniable - safe and unalterable data with the use of the blockchain - from the comfort of his cell phone. Likewise, with a simple QRCode the consumer can also have contact with the information of the steps that the product took, from planting to the market shelf. It is a revolution in the form of consumption and in the relationship between buyers and producers.
In addition, the idea is for the Blockchain network to systematically and automatically build a “virtuous circle” between producer and consumer, so that there is an automatic return of a part of the amount paid for coffee produced sustainably, directly to the producer or to a set of producers within the Blockchain network itself. There are several possibilities for implementing mechanisms of this nature in a blockchain network architecture.
It is the creation of a system that benefits the producer, the arrangement, the national production, the large companies and the consumer. A structure in constant development focused on the construction of a more sustainable reality. After all, financially strengthening the small producer, empowering the buyer with information and encouraging a behavior of responsibility for consumption, we created a vigorous system, in which more sustainable practices are being taken and financial circulation in rural economy cities values ways of life away from big cities. Finally, by familiarizing people to the access to information and opening channels of communication, we have resumed a culture that demands healthier practices in different areas for a better life.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
In 2050, producers and consumers will be more responsible in their social and environmental practices and will be more connected by a network of trust. Consumers will be willing to “finance” agricultural products committed to the environment and to people. Producers (or groups of organized producers) will have a real income increase, adding value to their crops and in some cases automatically receiving additional value (either directly or through the LPA) due to its eco-friendly practices. There will be end-to-end trust, thanks to the transparency and immutability of the records throughout the years of production provided by the blockchain network.
In 2050 the consumer will demand from the producer social and environmental accountability and the proposed mechanism will make this interaction feasible. The demanding consumer is willing to pay the price for an organized and socially responsible production. The registration of the links of productive chains in the Blockchain network, alongside its technical reports, ecological certificates and sensor data will attest in a transparent and immutable way the care taken in the process of growing the grain. Promoting traceability in a Blockchain network will avoid inconsistencies, waste and will make it possible to build a bond of trust with producers, distributors and consumers.
The harmonic and systemic strengthening of the producer and production of grains with added value, both based on environmentally sustainable practices and financed to a large extent by consumers aware of their social and environmental responsibility, will allow the recovery of degraded areas and the consequent reconstitution of native forest areas, necessary even for the construction and consolidation of the coffee brands produced in this region, all in line with the concept of sustainable regions.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world. With an increasingly demanding market and consumers concerned with what they buy, in 2050, certifying the provenance of this traditional product will be essential.
We believe that the strengthening of communities, Local Productive Arrangements and small producers, in a symbolic and financial way, by good agricultural practices and sustainable production habits, would have a cascade effect for the appreciation of rural workers, their city and the natural environment around them.
Our vision is highly scalable and adaptable to different productive realities. One of the desired objectives is to create a greater awareness among consumers about the history of products that are purchased. In 2050, from the data compiled by extensive Blockchain networks over the years, the behavior of producers and consumers will be systematically modeled. The demands from more and more responsible consumers, will lead to the permanent improvement of the producers of agricultural practices converging with the preservation of the environment, which consequently will lead to a change in the scenario of this region in 2050.
By applying coffee traceability and blockchain registration, we guarantee trust in the information that will be accessed by distributors and end consumers. By 2050 blockchain networks for production traceability will already be incorporated as good agricultural practices.
The tool for registering this information on the network would be a cell phone application, very simple and easy to handle, so that the producer himself can upload the information of the stages, with photos and videos of each moment of the cultivation, in addition to the georeferencing, certificates, differentials of that plantation and any other sensors and automation information that the producer wants to insert. There would be an option to save the information offline and upload it only when there is internet, since access is often only possible in the urban area.
The information to be inserted meets the recommendations of the Coffee Sustainability Curriculum (CSC), proposed by GCP. Among them there are the use of personal protective equipment; annual analysis of soil and leaf for fertilization; favoring the involvement of women and young people; registration and remuneration in accordance with labor laws; conservation of sources of water; sewage treatment.
This stage also concerns the creation of an enabling environment digitally, that is, building a scenario that makes a certain activity viable through financing, logistics and legislation, bringing together different sectors of society. This shows how solutions should not only be thought of as the responsibility of coffee growers, but also beyond the farms, in the environment in which they operate - ranging from crops to harbors.
It is worth mentioning that the promotion of productivity would guarantee the continuity and improvement of small producers, who are the majority in the country. That would make them more competitive and would directly benefit these companies that buy their products.
This creates an incentive for modernization, preservation and good labor practices simultaneously, in addition to increasing producers' incomes. This promotes a systemic improvement in the quality of life in the countryside and in the way of dealing with the land.
In 30 years, changes in processes would mean less pollution of rivers and less use of harmful substances to prevent pests. As the economy of cities like Manhuaçu are very busy due to coffee activity, an increase in productivity would mean an expansion of other local businesses, which would boost public investment in sectors such as education and health.
In a more immediate sense, improving the quality of the product with the conscious use of agrochemicals (with registration, respecting the shortage and returning the packages after the correct washing) could already represent a healthier diet, in addition to a more responsible relationship with food.
The development of enabling environments initiates a virtuous circle, which creates possibilities for improvements and advances within and outside the farm, in a system that continuously improves by fostering innovations in the agricultural sector.
In 2050, the challenges of producing more and more will remain, preserving natural resources and overcoming the challenges imposed by climate change, pest globalization and so many other adverse events that affect agriculture and technology will remain humanity's greatest ally. In 2050 the whole world will be looking at agricultural production, especially in the use of eco-friendly practices. Blockchain certification will be ideal to highlight the commitment of producers to the environment, in addition to reaffirming the commitment of the Brazilian producer to the environment, the ecological concern meets the demands of the market and, of course, increases the added value of production, connecting everyone in this chain of global responsibility.
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