The current generation of farmers faces a Herculean task in front of them, i.e., to feed the entire human population. Despite the vast amount of food and crops produced yearly, hunger is still a prevalent problem.
According to a WHO report, as many as 828 million people were affected by hunger in 2021. 70% more food will be needed by 2050 to feed a growing population.
Climate change, soil erosion, biodiversity loss, and changing consumer tastes just aggravate the challenges that farmers deal with. These present-day problems make their already difficult task seem almost impossible. However, farmers are not alone in this predicament; the entire global agricultural industry faces an uncertain future.
Other challenges include food shortages, pest infestations, loss of crop/food (due to inefficient transportation), and global economic factors like recessions. The Indian agrarian population stands with their global counterparts in facing these problems.
Knowing the colossal scope of the problems, what can be done to support the agriculture industry and safeguard our future?
Top Ways Blockchain Can Help the Agriculture Industry Solve These Challenges
Technology and collaborative reforms are the most effective ways of dealing with these challenges. Blockchain technology has addressed several of these issues and developed solutions to create a more effective and trustworthy agricultural system and supply chain.
Here are some of the major problems that blockchain technology is striving to solve:
Improving Crop Quality Through Data Analysis and Smart Contracts
Crop quality is vital to its distribution and, ultimately, consumption. Blockchain enhances food safety by storing crop quality/grade data and making it accessible to all participants.
After inspection of food storage structures and the quality of crops is carried out by the regulating authorities, they can upload their reports on the blockchain. This data will be available to all participants of that value chain.
The supply chain sector will be made aware of when the product is ready to be transported so that they prepare accordingly by initiating payments and collecting the produce. Smart contracts can streamline this process by making payments swift and accessible to all stakeholders.
Since blockchain works on an immutable, transparent system, no misinformation or changes can be done to this data without every other participant knowing about it. Consumers will also be able to know the true source of their food and its certified quality.
Blockchains that cater specifically to the agriculture industry can even collaborate with meteorological departments. These departments can share reliable data about weather conditions. Thorough data analysis of weather patterns can help producers make informed decisions to safeguard their crops and insure them if required.
Walmart, in collaboration with IBM, developed a blockchain-powered Food Trust solution. This initiative connects farmers, manufacturers, factories, distributors, and retailers through a permissioned P2P data network.
This particular blockchain has increased collaboration between all participants and created a trustworthy network to improve crop quality.
In 2018, Walmart also employed blockchain to track and trace its lettuce supply chains. This project has significantly improved food safety as it tackled the problem of E. Coli and Salmonella outbreaks.
Strengthening the Supply Chain
Blockchain technology strengthens the supply chain by allowing faster and safer transactions. Pre-approved transactions, secured by smart contracts, will help in saving a lot of manpower and time.
Integrating data science with the agricultural supply chain has opened doors to generating smarter market data for better decision-making.
The data collected by a particular blockchain can reduce financial risks and promote inclusive trade. It can also provide farmers and businesses with access to agricultural financial services. Fraud detection and aversion are an added bonus of incorporating blockchain into the agricultural supply chain.
Many corporations have embraced the benefits of blockchain technology to reinforce their supply chains. AgriChain, previously known as BlockGrain, has created an efficient platform for agricultural supply chain management.
This blockchain-run software has successfully automated supply chain operations with reduced costs. It facilitates transparent transactions and networking among stakeholders. AgriChain is currently being used by farmers and food manufacturers across Australia and Asia.
Increasing Transparency and Reliability with Key Stakeholders
Building trust among stakeholders is a major benefit of blockchain. With blockchain's transparent and immutable ledger-based system, the stakeholders are aware of all the business processes taking place.
Blockchain can help companies identify untrusted links among their systems and apply digital ledger technology at the value creation chain stages. This will either force participants to work ethically or make room for more trustworthy partners.
AgriDigital has created blockchain software that provides users within the grain supply chain (farmers and consumers) transparency regarding all operations.
This software increases the reliability of all supply chain processes with its digital ledger-based system. It allows users to access real-time data, reports, and other documents pertaining to their value chain. It also tracks deliveries and orders between its users.
WayPath is another blockchain-powered software, also created by AgriDigital. It is a digitized management system for grain products, wherein its users can track contracts, delivery trucks, farm storage, and more.
Better Compliance with State Laws and Data Security
Data security is paramount in today’s digital world. Blockchain provides that security through encrypted blocks. Each block has a unique identification. The algorithm used by most blockchains is one-way cryptographic. This means that attempts to decrypt this data do not retrieve the original data.
Blockchain, thus, creates a virtual data stronghold that is not susceptible to tampering. Its thorough documentation and transaction history also ensure that all state laws are being adhered to.
TagOne has incorporated blockchain, AI, and cloud computing to create a secure platform. It aims to create a responsible and connected global food and natural product supply chain.
The combined benefits of the technologies used allow the company to detect data tampering, provide clear audit trails, and track global natural supply imbalances.
TagOne is currently catering to multiple US-based businesses to provide transparency for their products.
Blockchain: Enabling a New Future for the Global Agricultural Industry!
The above-stated examples depict some of the salient benefits provided by blockchain. As research and wider implementation increase, we might be able to invent more advanced ways of enhancing the agricultural industry.
Blockchain functions effectively on all levels, be it a local supply chain or a global one. There are some challenges to implementing it on a bigger scale. Entering vast amounts of stakeholder data into the blockchain will be time-consuming and costly. Getting multiple stakeholders to agree on rules of usage and engagement will also be an arduous task.
Despite these challenges, it is safe to state that the sooner we embrace blockchain technology and its many benefits, the sooner we reinforce the global agricultural industry.
Get started with Spydra
Spydra is a next-generation API driven Decentralization-as-a-Service platform to enable business and developers to leverage the full potential of Blockchain and the Decentralized Web Infrastructure.