Cocoa product startup Koa launched a blockchain-based program this week that improves the transparency of its cocoa supply chain and ensures its Ghanaian farmers are being paid properly.
The program is supported by partnerships with German supply chain company Seedtrace and South African telecoms company MTN Group. Koa said it hopes to “improve transparency and accountability” by ending what it calls “scandals and cocoa farmer poverty.”
Corporations such as Oreo and Chips Ahoy producer Mondelez have been accused of paying farmers a rate below a living wage by the Conseil du Cafe-Cacao which regulates cocoa production in Ivory Coast and Ghana. Koa believes publicly documenting payment records on a blockchain can eliminate such practices.
Seedtrace provides the platform for Koa’s supply chain infrastructure. The platform utilizes the Topl blockchain to record data about the production and distribution of cocoa. Farmers use the data to know where their products have gone and how they are being used, while consumers can easily track the origin of the ingredients in their food and ensure the farmers were paid properly for their work.
Koa managing director and co-founder Anian Schreiber told industry publication Candy Insider on Wednesday that “We want to get rid of long, non-transparent supply chains.” He believes that promises of ethical business operations are not enough, that they should be easy for consumers to audit.
“Instead of claiming good practices, we put our cards on the table to let the consumers witness each transaction to farmers.”