How apps are helping small farmers bring you better coffee
People may elbow you in the Starbucks line, but coffee’s real ground zeroes are places like Guatamala and Brazil, where rural farmers are battling coffee plant diseases and uncooperative weather. If you can get a venti iced mocha with whip, they should be able to get a little help doing the hard part, right? As Fast Company’s Tina Amirtha recently asked, “What if there [were] a way for small coffee producers to have up-to-the-minute information on climate trends, advice on sustainable farming practices, or coffee market conditions?”
Thanks to two programs, now there is.
The National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia (FNC) recently partnered with software company SAP to make a mobile version of its “coffee portal” app. So far FNC has distributed tablets and trained about 500 Colombian coffee growers on using the app to find real-time coffee prices and sales. That saves them long trips to coffee selling points. “It’s very good for the coffee growers of this country,” says coffee farmer Luis Fernando.
And U.K. software startup WeatherSafe is using data from the European Space Agency in an app to help Rwandan coffee growers predict and recover from adverse weather. Explains Amirtha:
Through satellite imagery, hyper-local weather data can signal forthcoming conditions and give targeted warnings to farmers. Coffee farmers can even upload images of trouble spots in their fields to get advice from researchers on how to manage the situation. Data models for the farming areas can also help the growers decide how to handle their fields.
Rewarding to know it’s not all Flappy Bird, isn’t it?