Mercanta seeks to digitise and improve traceability through Rfider partnership

Published by Rhys Taylor-Brown on January 12th 2022, 7:07am

Mercanta has announced an official partnership with New Zealand-based software firm Rfider, which is geared toward digitising as many of its internal processes as possible and improving the supply chain traceability of its coffees.

The partnership was announced following a successful trial period in 2021, which saw Mercanta introduce innovative technologies to its suppliers and receive positive feedback from all involved.

Mercanta managing director, Stephen Hurst, commented: “Here at Mercanta, we pride ourselves on knowing the full traceability of each coffee we purchase. Essentially, we seek to understand the coffee’s journey from origin to warehouse, and we strive to relay this information to our various clients around the world. Mapping our supply chain right down to farm level has enabled us to nurture invaluable relationships with our producer partners, culminating in the exchange of quality products for premium prices.”

All the relevant traceability information can be found by simply scanning a QR code that is unique to each individual sack of coffee.

Hurst explained: “The process begins by initiating an agreement with our partners at origin to tag each sack of coffee with QR codes. A profile is then created for each coffee, including traceability information and photos to create the coffee’s story. Actors along our value chain can scan one of these codes, encrypting the coffee’s journey in a ledger using the actors’ GPS phone signal. This could be the producer themselves, one of the hardworking individuals at the Mill, or the Exporter.

“Once the coffees arrive at the designated warehouse, a Mercanta staff member scans one code per batch to record that the coffee has been received. We can also attach our lab data to the experience, such as cupping notes and moisture content percentage. Roasters and customers then have the ability to not only access the traceability information for each coffee purchased by scanning a QR code but can also view the coffee’s journey from the mill to the warehouse via encrypted images that were taken and uploaded along the way.

“Finally, roasters are able to inherit all of this information to convey the story behind each and every bag of roasted coffee they sell.”

To date, Mercanta has successfully tagged shipments exported by partners based in Brazil, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Papua New Guinea, with almost 150 different lots tagged from each country.

“Ultimately, we are hoping to help our entire value chain transition to evidence-based storytelling in a digital, compelling and contextual way,” Hurst added.

“We would like to thank everyone who has made this possible, and especially to the Rfider Team and our partners at Origin whose commitment has been absolute. We hope to further this initiative and help create a positive future for coffee producers and roasters throughout Mercanta’s supply chain.”

Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash

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Rhys Taylor-Brown
Junior Editor
January 12th 2022, 7:07am

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