Food Traceability Software Part 2: Tackle The Supply Chain

In a previous post, we unveiled the sustainability challenges implied by the supply chain for cocoa beans. Here, we’ll focus on cocoa production traceability, which is key for reducing deforestation and child labour risks.

According to the Innova Market Insights, traceability in the food supply chain was the top concern for consumers in 2021. 60% of people interviewed globally want to know more about what happens across the farm to fork value chain. To add to that, upcoming stringent regulations will put pressure on traders.

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That’s why Farmforce developed a sweet food supply chain technology that keeps track of cocoa-based products right from their source. So, let’s unlock the advantages of our supply chain visibility software as a service (SaaS).

The Digital Recipe for a Traceable & Sustainable Cocoa Value Chain

Regardless of which cocoa supply chain model you refer to, Farmforce cooked up a food tech looking after cocoa beans’ traceability from farm to export, where traders’ IT services take over.

To be more specific, we devised our Information Management System (IMS) to engage and interconnect all the cocoa supply chain actors in the first mile. Our agricultural software recipe, designed for small farm management, features 3 essential ingredients:

  • Office staff: At the top, you have an operational manager and a group administrator (a.k.a. ADG) using the IMS website for handling certifications and issuing surveys in a few clicks time. In addition, multinational corporations (MNCs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and cooperatives can access our web platform to create and conduct Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) surveys to investigate any child labour on the farm. What’s more, is that our digital tool links farmers to their family members. Therefore, you can have an effective oversight of any kids in child labour. Data collected in Farmforce are available to Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems (CLMRS) community facilitators (who are often farmers). By visiting households, CLMRS facilitators raise awareness of child labour and identify any children in danger. In case they come across anyone in or at risk of child labour, they record them in a digital system and put in place remediation strategies (e.g., providing children with educational material, supporting income-generating activities for farmers). 
  • Field staff: This includes a section delegate, a coach, and an internal auditor. They all use the IMS mobile app to liaise both with the office staff and the farmers. Sections delegates play a very strategic role. Besides recording cocoa beans purchases and registering growers’ profiles on our digital database, they can also upload farmers’ GPS-mapped plots using the polygon feature. Our SaaS then assigns a unique ID number to each farmer which is associated with their farm location and is attached to the lot’s purchase paperwork. Traders can upload the plots’ shapefile onto the Global Forest Watch (GFW) platform and overlay it with historical deforestation data recorded over the last 15 years. By doing so, they’ll find out whether cocoa beans producers are farming protected or deforested lands. Using the Farmforce database, delegates can also check the number of cocoa beans delivered by the farmers at the section against their given quota. The latter is just the maximum quantity of cocoa beans each farmer is allowed to deliver. By monitoring quota, we minimise the risk of uncertified and untraceable cocoa beans sneaking into the supply chain.
  • Smallholder farmers: Accounting for 84% of the world’s 570 million farms, smallholder farmers are the vital pillar of the agricultural value chain development. Besides receiving adequate training, growers will soon expand their capabilities within our IMS. In fact, Farmforce has been piloting a Farmer App which is expected to go online by 2023.

By coordinating the above-mentioned three first mile players, Farmforce put in place bag-level traceability. Each bag is associated with a farmer’s field and recorded in our system. Farmforce’s agricultural supply chain software then generates a unique barcode to stick onto each bag. This enables us to track bags and their weight as they move across the cocoa beans value chain.

On top of that, our IMS ensures all-year-round visibility of the fertilisers and chemicals used by farmers in their fields. This is crucial to detect any contamination hot spots. Also, relying on these farm data, companies can make sure their cocoa beans suppliers adopt sustainable farming techniques that comply with GLOBALG.A.P., Rainforest Alliance, and other certification schemes. 

Using APIs, coop staff can pull out all data stored by Farmforce and transfer them to the trader’s system. Traders, in their turn, pass the information on chocolate manufacturers. Overall, thanks to our food tech, the chocolate industry can confidently satisfy consumers’ appetite for cocoa beans’ traceability and sustainability.

The Driving Farmforce Making You Go the Extra First Mile 

Back in 2017, Cargill aimed at implementing Farmforce’s barcode-based, bag-level traceability system across their whole cocoa supply chain in Cote d’Ivoire. 

After 3 years of collaboration, the cocoa trader has now upgraded their four-cooperative pilot to our new Global Management System (GMS). Born as an evolution of our IMS, this sustainable food supply chain management let Cargill consolidate all of its sourcing operations across West Africa into a single integrated platform. This model connects over 130 cooperatives and engages more than 250,000 smallholder farmers.

Also, by mapping cocoa tree fields nearby National Parks, rivers, and other protected ecosystems, our GMS strengthened Cargill’s efforts against deforestation.

Farmforce will keep pushing Cargill forward to help them meet their ambitious target. 100% traceability along the first mile of their direct and indirect cocoa value chain by 2030.

To add to that, our streamlined first-mile solution facilitated the achievement of the FairTrade certification for 3 Ivorian cooperatives. These are currently using our IMS  to store their own data and benefit from it. They will know exactly how many cocoa beans their members buy and where they get them from. Thanks to this level of certification, they’ll become more attractive trading partners for MNCs.

Conclusions

As you can see, our first-mile SaaS solutions provide organisations with the confidence to secure sustainable sourcing, improve farmers quality of life and protect the environment. Using Farmforce’s data-driven tools translates into more vetted acres, more measurable impact on local communities, more financial opportunities for farmers, and more clarity for your customers.