3 Applications That Revolutionized Direct Trade


Direct trade is the process of sourcing directly from the growers of coffee, and eliminating any intermediaries in the middle. For many years, it was a great concept made difficult to implement due to technological barriers. However, over the past five years, the boom in mobile technology and its accessibility has meant that direct trade is now not only possible but a better option than any other system of trade (Fair Trade, what?). The fact that we can gain greater transparency and know exactly where our coffee is being sourced from means that there is no need for consumers to depend solely on labels put on packages. Instead, consumers can communicate directly with the beneficiaries and see their impacts. This has been made possible mainly due to the following three applications:

  1. Whatsapp: we use whatsapp in two ways - first, to send weekly updates to our farmers with any key strategic updates, or the general progress of the venture; and second, to hear their feedback and opinions. We send #MondayMessages to our farmers every Monday which includes key updates from the week that went by. At Bean Voyage, our farmers are equally part of the growth and they are the key stakeholders because of whom our work is possible. Therefore, we ensure that key decisions that we make are shared with them, and we try our level best to incorporate their feedback into the functioning of our venture.
  2. Facebook: we use Facebook to create a channel of communication between the farmers and consumers. In this day and age, almost all of the farmers that we work with have Facebook accounts. Therefore, we create secret groups for the farmers to have direct conversation with the consumers. This allows the consumers to ask questions, get updates on new products, and any challenges that the farmers are facing. By eliminating any communication gaps between consumers and producers, we are revolutionizing the way people get information about their consumption. Instead of depending on labels and hoping it is creating the impact that is promised, our consumers can have human connection with the producers and learn about the ways in which their coffee is produced. In fact, one of our programs, ‘Join a Family,’ allows for groups of consumers to join an exclusive group where they have direct access to the farmers.
  3. Xoom: financial accessibility is one of the biggest challenges in rural communities, which has deprived many agricultural communities from earning a fair share for their hard work. Not only has it caused them to depend on various intermediaries, but they have been misinformed of market prices by these various intermediaries. That is why we use services like Xoom (by Paypal) to be able to make direct payments to the farmers. Although Xoom charges a small fee, it surely ensures that the farmers can receive their payments as soon as possible, and not wait for months without information on the sales. With the advent of blockchain technology, we hope to enter the space of digital currencies where every dollar can be tracked by the consumers, from the initial payment they make, to the final dollar received by the farmer. However, as such technology continues to develop, we are thankful to existing services like Xoom for helping make our farmers more financially accessible.

These are a few applications that we have frequently used over the past year. However, we’re always looking for new applications that can be easily taught to the farmers that we work with to ensure the simplification of the supply chain. Do you have recommendations? Leave them in comments below!



Leave a comment


Also in Fresh off the cup

What’s In Your Cup?
What’s In Your Cup?

Understanding the challenges that coffee farmers across the world face is both a necessity and an impossibility. This article makes an attempt to understand the history behind the magic bean!

Read More

Why we are staying in Costa Rica?
Why we are staying in Costa Rica?

Why would an upcoming startup move it's HQ to Costa Rica? Two reasons why we think it's the best option for our venture!

Read More

Why we're not labeling it?
Why we're not labeling it?

Why we're moving away from any labels and focusing on direct and transparent communication between the consumers and producers of coffee!

Read More