We believe blockchain technology will forever change the way non-profit organizations create value for beneficiaries and project stakeholders.
Heifer International’s long history of success has depended greatly upon donor trust and our ability to deliver impact through our innovative programming. The idea of trust is now being redefined by new technologies like distributed systems. Our vision is to build a blockchain network for agricultural development where all farmers can have access to working capital, technical assistance, and expanding markets.
Our Blockchain Initiatives Team is constantly discovering new opportunities to utilize blockchain technology to revolutionize international sustainable development. We are focused on partnering with governments, private organizations, and non-profit coalitions to create lasting change. We have also accepted donations via Bitcoin and a variety of other digital currencies since 2016.
We are currently planning, designing, or piloting the following list of blockchain-based projects. We intend to scale these solutions to our programming locations around the world after further research, testing, and refinement. The core values of security, community, transparency, and sustainability are embedded in all our blockchain projects. Ultimately, each project is a sequential building block on the path towards transforming Heifer International into a decentralized autonomous organization.
Asset Registration and Tracking
Food Supply Chain Tracking
Food traceability and authentication are critical to improving food security and fair trade. Sourcing food contamination, production costs, and certified quality can be difficult in today’s food supply chain. Heifer is utilizing blockchain technology across global supply chains with a variety of partners. Some of our projects are:
Heifer USA: Since 2017, the GrassRoots cooperative, in collaboration with Heifer USA in the state of Arkansas, has been using blockchain technology through Provenance. From that project, we learned that blockchain is a great opportunity to create visibility to small farmers and offer a new level of transparency to consumers. We have seen that GrassRoots has increased brand recognition and reputation.
Heifer Honduras, Project Leverage Success: In 2019, Heifer Honduras began working with IBM to provide coffee farmers in the COPRANIL cooperative with IBM Food Trust technology. The platform enables farmers and buyers to track coffee beans from the farm through to sale, allowing traceability along the supply chain and providing farmers with a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Heifer Honduras, Chocolate4All: In 2020, Heifer Honduras expanded the initiative to provide cacao farmers in the APROSACAO and APROBIL cooperatives in Olancho, Honduras with IBM Food Trust, sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations for Development (UNDP). Food Trust traces the cocoa beans in pulp, prior to fermentation, through to the sale of the dried beans to Chocolate Halba, the Chocolate4All buyer. It also allowed the traceability files to be transferred to the platform that were previously kept in Excel spreadsheets – a requirement from the company when purchasing ‘A’ quality cocoa.
At Heifer International, we believe that the future of the food supply chain is the use of
- Artificial intelligence and robotics integration
- Predictive analysis
- Management of sustainability and residence risks. (ESG factors for sustainability)
- Transparency with blockchain technology.
Land Title Initiative
Land registration and ownership in developing countries is crucial to alleviating hunger and poverty. Farmland and property can make up to 75% of a nation’s wealth yet 75% of the world’s population cannot prove they own the land on which they live or work. Blockchain technology offers a more reliable, cost-effective, and efficient land registry solution. Heifer is partnering with Tetra Tech and others to develop a sustainable business model that helps small-holder farmers obtain funds for land acquisition while participating in agroecological training programs. We are planning to pilot the project in Honduras and Malawi.
Donor Experience and Project Scaling
We want to trace donations that go towards providing sustainable agriculture for everyone. Donation tracking gives both donors and the communities we work with a new level of transparency and accountability. Our partnership with Copied Code and the University of Arkansas will support more intentional efforts to track funds for humanitarian relief and sustainability.
We have partnered with the BitGive Foundation to raise cryptocurrency funds for the Heifer USA Tool Bank through the GiveTrack crowdfunding platform. We are also partnering with CryptoCare to offer crypto-collectibles when you donate Ether through their platform.
Over 2 billion of the world's citizens are unbanked and thus excluded from access to the modern financial economy. If affordable financial products and services like checking/savings accounts, mobile payments, credit cards, and insurance are delivered in a responsible way, it can help individuals and businesses survive during crises and achieve profitable growth. Heifer wants to provide training and access to financial tools such as micro-lending, micro-insurance, and financial assets using blockchain-based applications. We are currently working with WeTrust on a pilot program for savings and lending circles that will increase financial inclusion in Heifer Honduras.
Today, more and more people around the world have access to mobile phones and the internet. We believe this creates an opportunity for a financial system that better serves the needs of the farmers we work with. We are always looking for opportunities to increase access to finance for farmers, and have joined the Libra Association in order to further this effort. The Libra Association is an independent member organization developing a blockchain-based payment system that will support financial inclusion, competition, and responsible financial services innovation. The Libra Association’s mission is to enable a simple global payment system and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people around the globe.
We believe the Libra project has the potential to deliver a lower-cost, more accessible and more connected global financial system. One that will enable people that currently do not have access to the financial system to be connected to a more reliable and cost-effective platform.