A grassroots approach to proving fair pay with Fairfood

Arjo Wiyadi is one of 55 farmers who took part in a joint effort by Fairfood and Provenance to prove fair pay with blockchain technology. 

In the regular sales processes, it’s almost impossible to find out what a farmer receives for the goods they produce. Our work with Dutch NGO Fairfood brings greater transparency to the coconut industry, using blockchain to prove fair pay.

From the coconut tree to your local market

Consumers are growing savvier by the day. A quarter of UK consumers said they would buy fairly traded products and organic food, even if it cost them more money. In Europe, 50% of French and 46% of German consumers agree that organic fruit and vegetables are safer because they do not contain pesticides.

Working with Fairfood, a Dutch NGO pushing the boundaries of fair trading, Provenance is arming shoppers with greater knowledge about the food they buy. It only takes a few sips to enjoy delicious coconut water, but a Fairfood coconut’s journey from the tree to a local market encompasses roughly 21 days, over 7,000 miles of travel, while impacting 55 farmers and their families. With Fairfood, we are increasing financial transparency in the coconut industry.

Indonesian coconut farmers registered their harvest on the blockchain with members of Aliet Green and Fairfood.

Proving fair pay for a widely used commodity

The Netherlands is the second largest user of coconut oil in the world, with 107 million kilos of consumption each year. Research by Questionmark and Fairfood have revealed that approximately 5% of all products in Dutch supermarkets contain coconut. How can we ensure that the workers in this industry are impacted positively by the current system of trade?

Together with Fairfood, we used blockchain technology in creating a grassroots approach for proving fair payment in coconut trade. How did we do this? First, we enabled 55 farmers from Yogyakarta, a town on the Indonesian island of Java, to connect with Provenance software via SMS. We then integrated with Fairfood’s platform, designing a proof of payment mechanism to verify and display a visual representation of farmers receiving the Living Income Premium (LIP) for their harvest. The premium is derived from  the United Nations formula for living wage, which considers location, family size, and modes of transport, to determine a satisfactory living wage per nut, shown in Euros.

PoP (Proof of Payment) webpage displaying the Living Income Premium verified by Fairfood, and powered by Provenance blockchain technology.

Connecting farmer and consumer

Central to our work with Fairfood is connecting end consumers with the farmers that harvested their coconuts. By scanning a code on the product, consumers are directed to a page displaying each farmer’s profile, proof of the payment they received, and a timeline of the coconut’s journey from Asia to Europe. Aliet Green, a social enterprise for certified specialty produce, helped the farmers create their profiles on Provenance, and facilitated both collection of harvest and distribution of pay.
The coconuts are available online from 21 July, and at The Parade Theatre Festival in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Through our work with Fairfood, customers can purchase and enjoy a different type of coconut, fully traceable, fairly traded, and with a story to share. We’ve also enabled a feature that lets consumers send personal thank you notes to the farmers that harvested their coconuts.

Farmer Arjo Wiyadi is a coconut farmer using Provenance. See his product’s journey from Yogyakarta to Utrecht here.

Blockchain for good, beyond coconuts

Our software has demonstrated its capacity to solve a pressing issue in coconut production chains, namely the lack of transparency. We’ve used Provenance to increase financial transparency, prove fair trading, and drive consumer engagement with data-backed information. Working with Fairfood coconuts takes us another step closer to a future where every great product comes with accessible, verifiable information about its origin and journey.

We look forward to working with even more farmers, producers, and retailers, as well as partners in the non-profit sector, to build a positive future for commerce. Interested in using Provenance for your business? Get in touch at hello@provenance.org