Screenshot form the promotional video explaining how Farmer Connect and IBM Food Trust are connecting coffee growers and consumers with blockchain. IBM

At this week’s CES in Las Vegas, IBM and Farmer Connect announced the creation of a new blockchain-based app called “Thank My Farmer”. It is aimed at coffee drinkers and provides information on the origin of their morning cup of coffee, as well as allowing them to support sustainability projects and farmers in coffee-involved organizations.

Using the IBM blockchain, Farmer Connect tracks the whole route of the coffee we are drinking – from farmers and coops, through exporters, shippers, roasters, retailers to the final end-consumer.

Farmer Connect + IBM

At present, all this data cannot be found in a single place, as it is split between the different parts of the supply chain. This is mainly because each stop uses a different system to log the needed data. This problem will be solved by the blockchain-based app which will introduce a new common method for exchange of information and payments tracking.


The app will be released soon and will bring everybody involved in the process closer through a digital chain of transactions that cannot be modified. Each participant in the chain will have a copy of the data and all additions will be shared across the network.

“Thank My Farmer” presents the data through an interactive map, which simulates the journey of a coffee bean and shows sustainability projects that deserve support from the community.

Founder and President of Farmer Connect, David Behrends shared his thoughts on the partnership with IBM:

“The aim is humanising each coffee drinker’s relationship with their daily cup. Consumers now can play an active role in sustainability governance by supporting coffee farmers in developing nations. Through the blockchain and this consumer app, we’re creating a virtuous cycle.”

In the beginning, consumers from North America will be able to scan a QR code from the premium brand 1850 and track where its coffee comes from. Customers from Europe will be able to track coffee from the new single-origin Beyers 1769, which is roasted at Beyers Koffie.

Some of the other companies that collaborate on this project are ITOCHU Corporation, The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), Volcafe, Sucafina, The J.M. Smucker Company, Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE), Yara International, Rabobank and RGC Coffee. Throughout 2020, companies will be more than welcome to join the app regardless of their business size.

At the moment, Farmer Connect, in collaboration with the Sovrin Foundation is integrating a new digital identity form that is based on distributed ledger technology. This innovative self-sovereign identity will bring transparency and improve the consumer’s experience.

IBM is passionately working towards worldwide blockchain adoption, regardless of the industry, and the mutual project with Farmer Connect is just the most recent example of their efforts. Another case is IBM Food Trust which aims to improve dependability, sustainability and efficiency in the food industry through the use of blockchain.

Raj Rao, General Manager, IBM Food Trust shares this opinion:

“This project is another example of how blockchain technology can enable a channel for real change,” clarifying that “Blockchain is more than aspirational business tech, it is used today to transform how people can build trust in the goods they consume. For business, it can drive greater transparency and efficiency.”