In this section, you may find new materials that have been published on the topic of “Opportunities of blockchain for agriculture“, since the date of the event. We continually select major new publications and articles that add up to the policy points discussed in this briefing.
Blockchain becomes a part of everyday life in Kenya
Grassroots Economics, a Kenyan non-profit foundation empowering marginalized communities to help manage their economic future, launched Bangla-Pesa, an award-winning virtual currency for exchanging goods and services. Originating in an informal settlement in Mombasa, known as “Bangladesh”, the Bangla-Pesa enabled a small group of traders to work with a new currency. Now, not surprisingly, Kenya, considered the cradle of mobile payment, is at the forefront of the development of the blockchain. This technique is used to exchange goods, ensure product traceability, or even acquire government bonds. Blockchain is a way of storing and exchanging information through several hundred computers that form a network. Thus dispersed, the information is protected. It requires a password, held only by those concerned, to be assembled, made understandable, and used. The technique appeared with the first crypto money in 2009. Today, it has financial, environmental, social, and managerial applications. Africa is not lagging behind on the subject, and in Kenya entrepreneurs and the government are already out of the starting blocks.
The disruptive and dynamic potential of blockchain is already well heralded. However, its reach is only now starting to permeate through significant enterprises that are helping boost the capabilities of the blockchain. A recent partnership between Bayer, and its Crop Science Division, and the payments affiliate of Alibaba, Ant Financial, has given rise to a substantial technological upgrade to agriculture. The two companies have signed a letter of intent to utilize blockchain technology to increase efficiency, improve the income of farmers, ensure the production of high–quality food, and aid in the digitization of agriculture.
Blockchain partnership between Plus, FYffes, and ISM: Climate-neutral bananas in Dutch supermarkets
Three companies are using blockchain technology to provide insight into the production chain of bananas. These companies are the Dutch supermarket chain, PLUS, their supplier, Fyffes, and their technology partner, SIM. A QR code has been placed on the bananas. Consumers can scan this to see which route the banana has taken. This product starts its journey in South America. It ultimately ends up in Dutch shoppers’ baskets. PLUS sells loose bananas in its supermarkets. They have been Fairtrade certified for close on ten years now. This fruit is now also climate-neutral. By offering transparency, the supermarket organization wants to provide clarity about the bananas’ origin. They also want to give people an insight into all the efforts being made in people, the environment, and climate.
What’s next for blockchain in the food industry?
Blockchain can trace and record transactions to strengthen food management, safety and quality in the food industry. We explore what 2019 developments have done for embracing blockchain in food, and where we can expect it to head next.
Italian Retailers Use Blockchain and QR Codes for Food Supply Chain Traceability
Large retail chains and several food manufacturers in Italy are investing in projects to monitor and trace the entire food supply chain in order to make it more transparent to customers, for example, by enabling them to identify information on the label using a smartphone. Modern consumers are quite demanding and show an increased interest in the origin and methods of processing food products that appear on their table. Supermarkets have launched a number of initiatives based on the blockchain technology, which guarantees the immutability of registered data and the presence of the entire data stream. It all allows guaranteed tracking of the entire production chain, as well as each operation. The chain of hypermarkets Auchan Retail Italia, in collaboration with Big Group and Te-Food (Auchan’s technology partner), has already launched traceability of the carrot supply chain. This became possible through the use of a QR code on product labeling. Following the carrots, chicken products are now also traced. In total, the use of the blockchain system and QR code will affect more than 40 food products. The project will cover 19 Italian regions and 1,500 retail outlets, including Auchan hypermarkets and Auchan, Simply and IperSimply supermarkets. And on their shelves, there are 5 thousand food products labeled Auchan and 17 thousand food products of local producers.
A blockchain-based experiment aimed at improving social and environmental practices in tea supply chains has proven successful, according to businesses having taken part, including Unilever and Sainsbury’s. Launched in December 2017 and convened by the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), the scheme saw Unilever and Sainsbury’s trial a blockchain system that records price, produce and production information on tea farmers in Malawi. Farmers taking part in the initiatives were offered a financial incentive in return for feeding social and ecological data into the blockchain system, called Trado. These incentives were paid through the regular supply chain financing processes of the banks used by Unilever, Sainsbury’s and their key suppliers, while enabling a lower financing rate to be applied to working capital financing of suppliers. CISL claims this facet is significant, given that suppliers reportedly borrow money to cover their working capital needs at a higher cost than that of the buyer.
Food Safety and Trade: The Role of Traceability Systems
Developing country food systems in particular would benefit from the expansion of traceability, as they face a significant share of the global burden of foodborne illnesses. Expanded traceability may also help build the cross-border transparency necessary to facilitate access to regional and global markets. In order to thrive, however, end-to-end traceability systems rely on a multitude of enabling factors, from physical infrastructure and digital capacity to market incentives and data-use regulations — many of which are nascent or absent in developing markets. Blockchain undoubtedly offers some advantages over other digital traceability systems. The relative homogeneity across blockchain systems facilitates better interoperability, and decentralized ledgers may be preferable when addressing traceability issues in longer value chains where a centralized system is not feasible.
Article: International policy coordination for blockchain supply chains
From the adoption of the shipping container to coordinated trade liberalization, reductions in trade costs have propelled modern globalization. In this paper, we analyse the application of blockchain to reduce the trade costs of producing and coordinating trusted information along supply chains. Consumers, producers, and governments increasingly demand information about the quality, characteristics, and provenance of traded goods. Partially due to the risks of error and fraud, this information is costly to produce and to maintain between dispersed parties. Recent efforts have sought to overcome these costs—such as paperless trade agendas—through the application of new technologies. Our focus is on how blockchain technology can form a new decentralized economic infrastructure for supply chains by governing decentralized dynamic ledgers of information about goods as they move. We outline the potential economic consequences of blockchain supply chains before examining policy. Effective adoption faces a range of policy challenges including regulatory recognition and interoperability across jurisdictions. We propose a high‐level policy forum in the Asia‐Pacific region to coordinate issues such as open standards and regulatory compatibility.
Blockchain benefits sustainable food production
Adapting new data technologies may lead to fairer food prices for consumers and producers, by increasing transparency. Associate Professor Michaela Balzarova of Te Rāngai Umanga me te Ture | College of Business and Law is conducting theoretical research into eco-labelling schemes and voluntary environmental systems that businesses adopt to mitigate their environmental and social impacts. She is also exploring alternative schemes and to what extent blockchain technology helps to address sustainability challenges that arise from problems of production and consumption of goods and services. Using blockchain in future, she suggests, could be a way of ensuring transparency of transactions, gathering more accurate data and eliminating the need for intermediaries. Associate Professor Balzarova believes that once present problems related to trust and a lack of experience with blockchain technology are addressed, using blockchain platform for future transactions could result in reduced prices for consumers and fairer returns for farmers. For example, Fair Trade labels have been developed to improve the livelihoods of farmers in developing countries. In the case of coffee, the problem with this approach is that products may have gone through as many as 26 intermediaries that may have added no value to the product or service and consumers have no way of knowing if the price they have paid is fair. The transactions are not transparent and are not direct.
Nestlé Partnered WWF’s OpenSC Blockchain to Track Food Supply Chains
The global food giant Nestlé is partnering with OpenSC to use blockchain technology in tracking its supply chain. OpenSC, founded by the WWF and the Boston Consulting Group Digital Ventures, is a supply chain food provenance blockchain platform. The distributed ledger system that OpenSC developed will operate separately from Nestlé’s current joint system with IBM Food Trust blockchain. The OpenSC platform, by utilizing blockchain technology, is able to help consumers access and verify supply chain data and sustainability. According to Nestlé’s statement, by implementing the project, the firm becomes the first “major food and beverage company to announce that it will pilot open blockchain technology in this way.” Initially, the program is going to trace milk products from New Zealand to the firm’s factories and warehouses in the Middle East. Moreover, palm oil products, originally from the American Continent, will also be brought in to test the scalability of the system.
Leveraging Data, Blockchain and AI to Help Agriculture Meet Growing Global Demand
Given the scale of the world’s food supply, there aren’t many industries that lend themselves to the power of data science and analytics than agriculture. This is the thinking behind a new research paper from a group of data scientists who make a case for finding new ways to use blockchain, AI and API management to enable “smart agriculture.” The paper, “Agricultural Digital Transformation,” has been published in the OR/MS Today journal from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). In short, the challenge is that the United Nations has forecast that the world population of 7.6 billion will reach 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. Rapid population growth, coupled with a severe reduction in global food production – due to climate change, environmental pollution, urbanization, as well as changing consumer behavior, demands and market integration – have made food shortages and food security the biggest agricultural challenges today.
Aon, Oxfam and Etherisc launch blockchain-based agricultural insurance
Aon, Oxfam and Etherisc have launched blockchain-based agricultural insurance policies for smallholder farmers in Sri Lanka. Nearly 200 farmers have already enrolled in a solution which delivers micro-insurance to smallholder paddy field farmers who are at risk of losing their crops due to extreme weather. Aon plc is a provider of risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, human resources solutions and outsourcing services. Oxfam in Sri Lanka works to alleviate poverty. Etherisc, an insurtech startup, is developing a protocol for decentralised insurance applications.
Nestle Announces New Blockchain Initiative Separate From Ongoing IBM Project
Nestlé, the largest food company by revenue, announced a pilot program to track its supply chains using blockchain, according to a company statement. The firm partnered with OpenSC, a blockchain platform, to develop the distributed ledger system which will be separate and distinct from Nestlé’s ongoing participation with IBM Food Trust blockchain. The pilot will last six months, and success will be determined by the “feasibility, viability and scalability of the system,” as well as how well the system verifies data, according to a Nestlé representative. Once rolled out, the service may involve a QR code, mobile app, and web portal. “For us, it is key that the access to the information is as seamless and easy as possible in order to have participation and traction with stakeholders and consumers,” the spokesperson said. The company said the initiative is to drive the market towards transparency by providing independently verifiable data to the conglomerate’s consumers. They also believe the mechanism will improve food safety and quality control.
How to make trade single windows more efficient with blockchain
World Economic Forum; 01/07/2019
International trade is of critical importance for economic and social development worldwide. A major cost of global trade is the regulatory requirement of submitting large volumes of information to governmental authorities in order to comply with import, export and transit-related documents and certificates. Trade single windows are flagship initiatives that reduce these administrative processes, allowing trade partners to submit standardized information at a single entry point. However, pain points and challenges – including lack of interoperability among agencies, the persistence of outdated processes, and limited visibility and traceability of shipped goods – are preventing us unleashing single windows’ full potential. With the rise of technologies, such as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, new opportunities to improve efficiency, transparency and interoperability in the trade ecosystem are emerging.
Blockchain blossoms in Haiti
The technological revolutions that have shaped the modern world have thus far all taken root in rich countries. Today, a new disruptive technology is breaking that mold – blockchain. Nowhere is this plainer than Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere and home to a blossoming range of projects using blockchain technologies to solve problems in ordinary people’s lives. As a developing economy, Haiti faces unique challenges — the country is more traditionally associated with earthquakes than with tech innovation. Haiti today is a hotbed of applied blockchain projects, projects that are expanding our understanding of the technology’s potential. In agriculture, an empowering initiative called AgriLedger founded by Haitian entrepreneur Genevieve Leveille and rolling out in Haiti this year is set to transform the food supply chain landscape. A custom-built platform powered by blockchain allows international buyers to scan a QR code and immediately access data on produce origin, transport, and costs in each step in the supply chain. Logistical data – sale documents, certification, and transportation – are made immutable and visible on the web. The payment system then makes data available to all participants in real time, and only vetted endorsers can validate transactions. This process makes it possible to certify product quality, thereby tackling a longstanding challenge preventing many buyers from entering the Haitian market. Furthermore, farmers themselves are safeguarded against price fluctuations, as the market price is determined by supply-demand principles rather than bargaining power.
Grants awarded to support food blockchain initiatives across Africa
In an effort to promote blockchain implementation in agriculture across Africa, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) has awarded four blockchain grants to projects focused on improving food supply chains. The grants were awarded to Bioversity International, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Erba 96 and Nitidae. Using the funds, the four organization will implement blockchain initiatives in Côte d’Ivoire, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uganda. Bioversity International, for instance, will focus on tracking the quality of cocoa farming using distributed ledger technology. CIAT will implement spatial risk indicators for supply-chain management while Erba 96 and Nitdae will each develop a blockchain supply chain traceability solution for cocoa and vegetables respectively.
Blockchain Releases Farmers From the Collateral Trap
A Jamaican start-up has an innovative solution to help smallholder farmers—many of whom do not have the collateral demanded by financial institutions to access loans—build a track record of their production that is proving better than collateral. FarmCredibly creates a record for farmers based on their production and they do not even need to leave the work on their farms to create this, founder Varun Baker tells IPS. Blockchain is a decentralised, digital ledger initially developed for the cryptocurrency bitcoin. It works through a series of digitally connected records where information can be shared openly and publicly verified through a cluster of computers. The decentralised nature of blockchain means that information is not stored in one place but on many computers or databases. The information is also time stamped. As such, if information is changed it has to be done through the system and cannot be deleted or changed at one point without the other databases of the information also being updated.
Agricultural Digital Transformation
The United Nations has forecasted that the world population of 7.6 billion will reach 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. Rapid population growth, coupled with a severe reduction in global food production – due to climate change, environmental pollution, urbanization, as well as changing consumer behavior, demands and market integration – have made food shortages and food security the biggest agricultural challenges today. Furthermore, a handful of global and regional intermediary corporations now dominate agricultural supply chains for the world’s 570 million farmers and more than 7 billion consumers. The consolidation of agriculture input, such as seeds, agrochemicals, seed breeding, trading and food processing, has contributed to rising food costs to consumers and farmer poverty around the world. At the same time, advanced digital technologies have become major drivers for addressing these challenges. Industries are aggressively embracing major digital transformation, moving toward Industry 4.0, and fusing material and virtual worlds into cyberphysical systems. The key technologies are:
A: Artificial intelligence (AI), analytics, operations research;
C: Cloud, IoT, 5G communication;
D: Big Data;
Shoppers buying Bumble Bee branded tuna later this year will be able to take advantage of blockchain technology to ensure the fish they are buying is fresh and from a sustainable source. As over-fishing and the knock-on effects it can have on ocean ecosystems becomes an increasing problem worldwide, consumers are growing more cautious than ever about where their food is coming from. Blockchain – the technology made famous by cryptocurrency Bitcoin but with potential to be used anywhere where ledgers are used in a supply chain – has been suggested as a possible solution to this problem. Now one of the largest producers of seafood has partnered with SAP to put this solution in the hands of consumers, who will be able to scan packaging in stores to be reassured that their produce reaches the standards they expect.
IBM today announced the global expansion of Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture, with AI technology tailored for new crops and specific regions to help feed a growing population. For the first time, IBM is providing a global agriculture solution that combines predictive technology with data from The Weather Company, an IBM Business, and IoT data to help give farmers around the world greater insights about planning, plowing, planting, spraying and harvesting. By 2050, the world will need to feed two billion more people without an increase of arable land. IBM is combining power weather data – including historical, current and forecast data and weather prediction models from The Weather Company – with crop models to help improve yield forecast accuracy, generate value, and increase both farm production and profitability. “As a farmer, the wild card is always weather. IBM overlays weather details with my own data and historical information to help me apply, verify, and make decisions,” said Roric Paulman, owner/operator of Paulman Farms in Southwest Nebraska. “For example, our farm is in a highly restricted water basin, so the ability to better anticipate rain not only saves me money but also helps me save precious natural resources.” New crop models include corn, wheat, soy, cotton, sorghum, barley, sugar cane and potato, with more coming soon. These models will now be available in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Brazil, as well as new markets across Europe, Africa and Australia.
Can Blockchain Technology Reduce Food Waste?
Blockchain Guru; 22/05/2019
We hear a great deal of discussion and debate around environmental issues and the subsequent effect on the climate. In fact, the top environmental concerns relate to air and water pollution. One of the causes of pollution is food waste. An interesting (but unfortunate) fact is that every year, 58% of all food produced in Canada is lost or wasted. It has a value of $49B and creates 56.6 million tons of CO2 emissions (Janus, 2019), almost equivalent to the Canadian oil sands, which produce 60 million tons of GHG (Oil Sands Magazine, 2019). One major source of this waste is that consumers and retailers throw away food near or just past its “best before” date, even though dating practices do not necessarily correlate to food safety (Janus, 2019). Blockchain technology has started to gain popularity among individual crypto miners as well as in the corporate world, which is eyeing technology because of its promises to bring more efficiency, immutability, and security to business operations. But can blockchain technology add any value to the not-for-profit causes? The primary question this article will try to answer is whether blockchain technology can help reduce food wastage, and, in turn, improve environmental conditions—and if so, how?
How retailers can benefit from blockchain
Retail Insights; 20/05/2019
Blockchain, also referred to as ‘distributed ledger technology’ (DLT), enables participants in a distributed network to each maintain a copy of an immutable ledger of transactions and allows transactions to be executed without the need for a third party. This means blockchain helps retailers to better track the origin of stock, gives them better control over what they sell and provides assurances for food safety, among other applications. Blockchain can also be useful for controlling supply chains as changes to data such as manufacturing dates and locations can be tracked. This could help eradicate the use of unreliable suppliers, poor quality ingredients and child labour.
New Profitable Report on Blockchain In Agriculture Market With Top Profiling Companies like IBM, Microsoft, SAP-SE, Ambrosus, Arc-net, OriginTrail, Ripe.io, VeChain, Provenance, ChainVine, AgriDigital, BlockGrain
Wire News Now; 20/05/2019
Blockchain technology is transforming the food and agriculture sectors by ornamental the decision-making capabilities of organizations. According to the FAO, every year about one-third of the food produced worldwide is wasted, which calls for a need to approximation and manage the actual supply and demand of food products so that these products reach the needy. These issues can be effortlessly and efficiently tackled by efficiently using the blockchain network. The blockchain market is predictable to grow, owing to the increase in the demand for supply chain transparency along the agriculture and food verticals. The Global Blockchain in Agriculture Market and Food Supply Chain Market is accounted by 2026 growing at a CAGR of +47% during the forecast period.
Blockchain pioneers want consumers to wake up and smell the coffee
The Irish Times; 16/05/2019
Moyee Coffee Ireland’s founders want to deliver transparency of its ethical supply chain. Killian Stokes and Shane Reilly had both experienced different countries of the coffee belt during their worldly travels before they met during postgraduate studies at UCD’s Innovation Academy. Reflecting on their experiences and the fact that 99.9 per cent of coffee is exported before roasting, they felt there was something they could do about that. Now, not only are they making an impact in the coffee industry, they are looking at blockchain to help consumers to do the same. “We started to explore ethical trade and coffee brands and we looked at whether we would be able to set something up. We came across this Dutch-Ethiopian collaboration, Moyee coffee,” says Stokes. The company supports farmers to roast their own coffee beans before export.
Blockchain Technology Presents Solutions To SMEs
Jamaica Gleaner; 15/05/2019
Small businesses are increasing in numbers and face many challenges, including access to capital, inefficient procedures and lack of information necessary to conduct business efficiently. Blockchain technology presents itself as a plausible solution to these challenges as it can assist small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in Jamaica and across the Caribbean to increase access to capital, as well as solve many of their inefficiency problems by reducing information asymmetry. Compete Caribbean and the London School of Economics (LSE) outline that blockchain has the potential to merge alternative information and reduce friction between transactions. This will allow these participants to increase their security on a platform that is accessible to everyone. Blockchain would substitute trust in humans with trust in mathematics, and if done without entry error can be more accurate. Blockchain technology can also reduce data vulnerability to manipulation and disjointedness processes.