Blockchain is a potentially life-saving technology that deserves blank check-like funding. It’s a quaint idea, but who is going to put up the money?
It’s the most important question facing blockchain in agriculture. The vast majority of small and medium sized farms are unwilling to spend on blockchain, at least for now. Corporate-backed farms have launched blockchain projects, but are they a sign of things to come, or just one-off novelties?
Blockchain-powered food tracking could minimize the spread of potentially lethal foodborne illness. It could give farmers greater oversight into their crops and livestock than they’ve ever had. You might think this possibility would attract attention from all farmers, but it hasn’t.
Most farmers are concerned with the day-to-day grind — tending to the herd, tilling the fields, manually inspecting crops. New technologies like the blockchain are daunting, expensive, and may not pay dividends until many farmers are in the ground themselves. This will continue to slow blockchain adoption for the foreseeable future.
The key is to convince farmers that blockchain will make their daily life easier, and will make them more money. Once this message sinks in, expect blockchain’s influence to spread.
Here’s what experts have to say about the future of blockchain in agriculture.
1. Dr. Michael Yuan, Co-founder of The CyberMiles Foundation
“When blockchain was introduced more than 10 years ago, the idea was to be a cryptocurrency for today’s global decentralized economy. Over time, however, improvements in blockchain technology have led to innovations such as better inventory management. Just as data files can be transferred more easily, blockchain can be used for food production, processing and shipping in the marketplace. Not only will this create a more efficient supply chain, it will have ancillary benefits that promise to affect our everyday life.”
2. Michelle Klieger , Founder and President of Stratagerm Consulting
“Consumers want more traceability and transparency when making food purchases. If blockchain provides this information, then adoption will continue. However, the broad implementation of blockchain may be constrained by smallholder farmers' production globally. For them, this system is too technologically advanced and cost-prohibitive. Without their data, the database will be incomplete, limiting its usefulness to consumers. In the short-term, producers that can provide traceability and transparency will command a premium in the marketplace.”
3. Braden Perry, Ag Business and Blockchain Attorney at Kennyhertz Perry
“Blockchain has vast potential. Agricultural companies [that are] looking to innovate and are proactive in its uses will likely reap benefits in ways we can imagine, and likely in unimagined areas [too].
As the regulatory framework progresses with innovation, companies will benefit. But that regulatory framework will likely lag the innovation, and frustrate those willing to adopt new technology.”
4. Daniel Pigeon, Technical Writer at Komodo
Now, it's a big deal when an agriculture-based business adopts blockchain technology, but a few years down the road, the businesses that aren't using blockchain will simply get left behind. The technology is simply too efficient and too cost effective not to become widely adopted.
Blockchain will be used to track everything from lumber to textiles to flowers to whiskey. It will also be used to signify land ownership for farmers, especially in places with limited government institutions, and [blockchain could also help] protect the environment.”
5. Carlos Iborra, CEO of FruitsApp
When we talk about blockchain, we talk about natural evolution, and you can not fight against it.”
6. Josh Siteman, Managing Director, Intravision Group AS
“Blockchain has the potential to further the democratization of the food supply chain, opening opportunities for farmers at any scale to participate in the ecosystem of agriculture. Traceability down to the resource inputs from seed to consumer will give rise to a new level of choice and trust in the food we eat.”
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