Technology for Social Good Foundations: A Perspective From the Smallholder Farmer in Sustainable Supply Chains

Matthew Quayson, Chunguang Bai, Joseph Sarkis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


The livelihood of smallholder farmers in emerging economies’ cocoa supply chain is substandard because of fraud, exploitation, corruption, deceit, child labor, and financial exclusion, usually perpetrated by influential actors. This situation creates a social sustainability problem which needs urgent attention. Digital technologies such as sensors, drones, satellites, and blockchain show promise toward fostering social sustainability deep into the supply chain. This innovation is consistent with the United Nations 2030 sustainable development goals of transforming world economies toward a more sustainable future vision by reducing poverty and inequality. As our contribution, we adopt a traditional approach in our perspective article to initiate a scholarly curiosity to discuss and develop research needs on how to use technology to address this current and critical sustainability and supply chain concern. Blockchain can solve the inefficiencies, complexities, and other social issues of smallholder farmers in the supply chain. This article identifies some blockchain technologies in emerging economies, such as Hara Technology in Indonesia and Cellulant Agrikore Blockchain Solution in Nigeria. Again, we observed that the promise of using technology to improve smallholders' vulnerability in the cocoa supply chain remains underexploited in Africa and other emerging economies. Therefore, rigorous research on smallholders' social sustainability is needed to make sound policy recommendations. This short perspective article describes issues facing these smallholder farmers and how technology can play a role for them and their supply chains to alleviate various social and environmental concerns. Accordingly, we propose some research questions for technology, innovation, and engineering management researchers.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 10.06.2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • supply chains
  • sustainable development
  • blockchain
  • companies
  • Africa
  • agriculture
  • technological innovations
  • supply chain management
  • technology

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoHP: Humanitarian and societal logistics


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