Digitalisation is growing in popularity in coffee supply chains, now more than ever, following the digital transformation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. It influences market access, contract negotiation, supply chain traceability and compliance to a growing number of legislative requirements. And at the field level, it relates to farm level data collection, internal control systems, productivity enhancement, and monitoring and evaluation. However, digitalisation’s benefits are yet to be fully reaped by smallholder farmers – due to the barriers of knowledge and accessibility.
Digitalisation in the coffee sector offers both challenges and benefits to coffee producers and exporters, the panel heard. The endless possibilities include improved traceability and training; however, old fashioned capacity building skills are still needed to help small family coffee growers who will need to spend most of their time growing coffee. The panel concluded that it was important to use digitalisation to share information upstream with producers as well as downstream with exporters.