Responsible Payment Digitization in the Coffee Value Chain

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Responsible Payment Digitization in the Coffee Value Chain


Coffee is cultivated on approximately 12.5 million farms worldwide, primarily managed by small-scale farmers who work on just a few hectares of land. Between 20 percent and 30 percent of coffee farms are female-operated, and up to 70 percent of labor in coffee production is provided by women.

Conservation International on behalf of the Sustainable Coffee Challenge has joined the UN-based Better Than Cash Alliance to mark its commitment to encouraging responsible payment digitization in the coffee supply chain. This is to ensure that both companies and farmers can benefit from these emerging tools and services. Sustainable Coffee Challenge partners are committed to ensuring coffee farmers and farm workers achieve their vision of prosperity building on the foundation of a living wage. Expanding digital payment infrastructure in coffee production can contribute to achieving this goal, and empower women in the coffee supply chain.

The Pocket Guide to Responsible Payment Digitization in the Coffee Value Chain will inform stakeholders on opportunities and tools available for payment digitization. This guide outlines four building blocks of responsible payment digitization and equips stakeholders with practical tools, including a farmer questionnaire, sample scripts for introducing digital payments to farmers and staff. Additionally, the report emphasizes ten recommended actions for both private and public sector stakeholders to support financial equality for women. These recommendations are based on extensive experience and research, aiming to combat the ongoing economic exclusion of half the global population and foster more resilient economies.

The Better Than Cash Alliance and the Sustainable Coffee Challenge are now working with stakeholders across the value chain – including roasters, traders, international non-governmental organizations, and government agencies – to expand digital payments. Some examples of current payment digitization efforts include:

  • One of the largest coffee cooperatives in the world, The Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union with more than 400,000 coffee growers, is piloting digital payments with two primary cooperatives reaching 1,000 farmers by 2024

  • Sucafina, the Switzerland-based international coffee trader, has digitized 100% of its payments in Uganda, and is working to digitize payments in Rwanda, Indonesia, and other counties for efficiency and shared prosperity

  • The Guatemalan National Coffee Association, Anacafé is working with the Better Than Cash Alliance to survey farmers and lay the groundwork for responsible payment digitization. Anacafé will use this information to pilot digital payments with 500 coffee farmers, fostering financial inclusion and advancing sustainability and transparency in the Guatemalan coffee supply chain.

  • Ibero Uganda, a company of the global green coffee service group Neumann Kaffee Gruppe, operates as the group’s local export company and a licensed microfinance institution. It provides more than 4,000 farmers in Uganda with cash advances in mobile money and is working to provide needed financial services to more than 30,000 farmers, at least 25 percent of whom are women.