Home » Blockchain In Agriculture: Overcoming The Global Food Crisis

Blockchain In Agriculture: Overcoming The Global Food Crisis

by Sanusi Afeez Opeyemi
blockchain in agriculture
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The world today faces an unprecedented food crisis. Over 800  million people battle the demon of hunger and malnutrition. Climate change, supply chain disruptions, and inefficient food production and distribution systems worsen the situation even more.

However, the advent of blockchain technology offers a revolutionary solution to these challenges, paving the way for a more sustainable, transparent, and equitable food system.

In this article we’ll discuss the role of blockchain in strengthening the agricultural food supply chain. We will also talk about its contribution in overcoming the global food crisis.

Blockchain and Its Use In Agriculture

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At its core, blockchain is a decentralized, immutable digital ledger that records transactions in a secure and transparent manner. In the context of agriculture, blockchain can revolutionize the entire supply chain, from farm to fork, by providing an indisputable record of every step in the production process.

Imagine being able to trace every fruit, vegetable and meat you consume down to its source. It means you wouldn’t have to worry about the nutritional value or harmful chemical content. That’s the power of blockchain in agriculture.

Applications Of Blockchain In Agriculture

Traceability and Food Safety

One of the most significant advantages of blockchain in agriculture is its ability to enhance food traceability. By recording every step in the production and distribution process on the blockchain, consumers can access detailed information about the origin, handling, and transportation of their food. This transparency can help build trust and confidence in the food system, as well as facilitate rapid identification and containment of potential food safety issues.

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For instance, if a foodborne illness outbreak occurs, blockchain can quickly pinpoint the source of contamination, enabling swift recalls and minimizing the impact on public health. Additionally, blockchain can verify the authenticity of organic, fair-trade, or locally sourced products, empowering consumers to make informed choices.

Enhancing Food Security with Blockchain

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations identifies blockchain as a key technology in combating the global food crisis. By improving the efficiency of transactions and reducing costs, blockchain can help smallholder farmers gain better access to markets and financial services, thereby increasing their income and resilience.

Blockchain also plays a crucial role in agricultural insurance, providing farmers with a more reliable and timely compensation for losses due to environmental or market-related factors. This financial security encourages farmers to invest in their crops, leading to increased productivity and food availability.

Supply Chain Efficiency and Fair Trade  

Globally, a staggering $1 trillion in food is wasted or lost annually due to inefficient supply chains. Blockchain’s automated smart contracts could significantly reduce delays, spoilage, and waste. Walmart’s blockchain traceability pilot demonstrated how records that previously took 7 days to retrieve could be accessed in just 2.2 seconds.

Moreover, blockchain promotes equitable profit-sharing by creating an immutable record of transactions. According to UN findings, using blockchain could enable an extra $200 billion to go directly into the pockets of the world’s 500 million smallholder farming households by 2030.

Sustainable Agriculture and Resource Management

Beyond supply chain optimization, blockchain can also play a pivotal role in promoting sustainable agriculture and precision farming. By recording data on agricultural practices, such as water usage, pesticide application, and soil health, blockchain can incentivize and reward environmentally friendly farming methods.

For example, farmers could be rewarded with carbon credits or premium pricing for adopting regenerative agriculture techniques that sequester carbon and improve soil health. This not only promotes sustainable practices but also creates new revenue streams for farmers, making sustainable agriculture more economically viable.

Agritech Companies Driving Positive Change With Blockchain Technology

By increasing transparency, automating processes, and incentivizing sustainable practices, blockchain has the potential to revolutionize the way we produce, distribute, and consume food, ultimately contributing to overcoming the global food crisis.

These companies are just a few examples of the many innovators leveraging blockchain to drive positive changes in the agricultural sector.

1. IBM Food Trust:

IBM’s Food Trust is a blockchain-based platform designed to enhance transparency, traceability, and efficiency across the food supply chain. It has partnerships with major players like Walmart, Nestle, Dole, and Driscoll’s. For instance, Walmart’s Food Traceability Initiative, built on the IBM Food Trust platform, allowed them to trace the origin of food products in just 2.2 seconds, compared to the previous 7 days.

2. AgriDigital

AgriDigital is an Australian company that has developed a blockchain-based platform for the global grains industry. Their platform enables real-time inventory management, automated payments, and seamless traceability from farm to buyer. By eliminating inefficiencies and increasing transparency, AgriDigital aims to create a more equitable and sustainable grain supply chain.

3. TE-FOOD

TE-FOOD is a blockchain startup based in Vietnam that focuses on farm-to-table traceability and food safety. Their platform allows consumers to scan a QR code and access detailed information about the product’s origin, processing, and transportation. This transparency not only empowers consumers but also incentivizes sustainable farming practices.

4. Provenance

Provenance is a UK-based company that leverages blockchain to create transparent supply chains for various industries, including agriculture. Their platform enables businesses to share sourcing information with consumers, verifying claims about sustainability, fair trade, and ethical practices. Provenance has worked with companies like Unilever and Marks & Spencer to increase transparency in their supply chains.

5. GrainChain

GrainChain is a blockchain platform designed specifically for the agriculture commodity market. It streamlines processes like contracting, payments, and logistics, while also providing immutable traceability from farm to buyer. GrainChain’s solutions aim to reduce inefficiencies, minimize waste, and promote fair trade practices in the global grain trade.

Challenges Of Blockchain In Agriculture And Solutions

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While the potential benefits of blockchain in agriculture are vast, its widespread adoption faces several challenges. These include the need for robust infrastructure, regulatory frameworks, and standardization across the industry. Additionally, educating and onboarding stakeholders, particularly smallholder farmers, will be crucial for the successful implementation of blockchain solutions.

Nonetheless, the urgency of addressing the global food crisis and the pressing need for sustainable and transparent food systems is driving innovation and investment in blockchain-based solutions. Major agribusinesses, technology companies, and governments are already exploring and piloting blockchain applications in agriculture, recognizing its potential to revolutionize the way we produce, distribute, and consume food.

Blockchain In Agriculture: An Emerging Superpower In Agritech

As the world grapples with the complex challenges of feeding a growing population while safeguarding the environment, blockchain emerges as a powerful tool for creating a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable food system. By enhancing transparency, efficiency, and accountability, blockchain can help overcome the global food crisis and pave the way for a more food-secure future.

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