Sustainable Harvest at Origin/Africa Ltd
“The Relationship Information Tracking System (RITS): Building Simple Applications to Improve Coffee Traceability, Transparency, and Quality”
Most coffee cooperatives do not have the tools to collect and organize the information about their coffee that can be vital to quality improvement. When this data is not tracked, producers who grow high quality coffee are not identified and rewarded, and producers who produce lower quality coffee are not targeted for quality improvement training. In East African cooperatives, this quality improvement becomes an even more serious communication challenge, because of the sheer size of cooperatives and the severity of poverty within the region.
More importantly, by not collecting coffee lot data—such as which farms are included in the lot, where and when it was washed, dried, and stored, and average cupping scores—cooperatives lose the opportunity to separate their coffee for sale to specialty coffee roasters, fetch higher price premiums, and enter into long-term buying relationships with roasters.
This lack of organized data collection can be solved by Sustainable Harvest’s newly developed Relationship Information Tracking System (RITS) database, which provides transparency and logistical clarity to all members of the supply chain, and at the same time helps cooperatives improve their coffee quality.
The COMPETE grant to Sustainable Harvest at Origin/Africa will be used to implement the RITS database system with Kilicafe, an East African cooperative, at a dry mill. The purpose of this grant will be to increase the Kilicafe cooperative’s competitiveness in the global specialty coffee market by having better organizational control of their top quality coffee. By tracking key data starting at the individual farms and all the way through to the centralized dry mill, Kilicafe will have the tools needed to bulk their highest quality coffee together for a high-premium sale.
Grant Timeline: January 1st, 2010 – December 31st, 2011
Total Amount: $468,550