Bringing blockchain to the agriculture industry can literally keep people healthier.
It puts consumers more in tune with their food. Where was their produce grown? How far did it travel from farm to store? Most importantly, is it safe for consumption?
Effectively answering these questions requires better tracking methods than what’s in place today, and the blockchain is a potential solution. It can provide updates on a tomato’s or cucumber’s journey from field to store, bringing information like its growing method and storage temperatures along with it. Customers will appreciate having more information about their food, and businesses should see blockchain-driven provenance as a competitive opportunity.
Provenance is by far the number one use case for blockchain in agriculture. But this technology could even change how farmers monitor their crops, order more inventory, and run their farm.
Here’s how different experts view the trends shaping blockchain’s use in agriculture.
1. Emma Weston, CEO and CO-founder of AgriDigital
“Provenance is certainly a key trend in blockchain for agriculture. Blockchain technology allows us to immutably record critical information about the farming, production, and transport of agri-commodities. Attaching this data to the digital asset, we are able to move this [information] securely between participants along the supply chain.
With the power to trace commodities and create data-rich digital assets, we are addressing the growing problems of food fraud and security across global agri-supply chains. Tracking provenance data about our food enables farmers, manufacturers, and retailers to justify premiums for certain products, and gives consumers confidence about where their food comes. This information can also be captured and used to better predict future trends and allocate resources accordingly.”
2. Michelle Klieger , Founder and President of Stratagerm Consulting
“Food safety concerns will continue to push investment in blockchain technologies. The romaine recall that occurred before Thanksgiving resulted in more than 50 people getting sick from 15 states. This was the second lettuce recall in 2018.
The entire lettuce category is impacted. Consumers stop buying lettuce and millions of pounds are destroyed because the outbreak cannot be traced quickly or accurately enough. Blockchain technology providers are promising consumers and food companies better options.”
3. Carlos Iborra, CEO of FruitsApp
We have already seen some actions carried out in this regard by some giants of the blockchain, such as Carrefour, which has already implemented traceability systems with blockchain so that consumers can access this information through the bar codes of the product in the store.
And other giants of the chain will possibly follow them in this type of initiative. [The blueprint] already exists, and there is a traceability system [in place], but thanks to the blockchain it can be much faster and safer.
The doubt comes in [the question of whether] the final consumer is prepared for this type of technology, since it seems that it is still too early to arouse interest among consumers.”
4. Daniel Pigeon, Technical Writer at Komodo
“Blockchain-based authentication of food items [is a prominent trend]. The same tracking technology that can help limit the waste after an outbreak can be used to verify the authenticity of high-end food items.
For example, blockchain is being used to trace coffee beans from the farm to the cup. When you order a Sumatran pour over, how do you know the beans are actually from Sumatra? With blockchain, you can [know such a thing]. And this applies to basically all food items — meat, eggs, organic veggies, wine — blockchain lets consumers know exactly what they're getting, when it was produced, and where it came from.”
5. Braden Perry, Ag Business and Blockchain Attorney at Kennyhertz Perry
“Supply chain solutions and food security/safety will likely be the biggest trends [shaping blockchain in agriculture]. Solutions will be able to make the tedious commodity tracking from field to producer efficient and much less burdensome. And food safety tracking can be radically improved by tracing animals in a far better manner. Also, the use of private blockchains within organizations will change how companies deal with logistics.”
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