Tackling Dairy Supply Chain Challenges with Blockchain: A Case Study on Ghee

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Written by
Shivani Tripathi
Published on
July 11, 2024

The dairy industry, a vital component of our global food system, sustains millions by providing essential nutrients. However, this industry faces a myriad of challenges in ensuring the quality and safety of its products from farm to table. Fragmentation, spoilage, regulatory compliance, and economic pressures on farmers complicate the supply chain, necessitating innovative solutions. One such solution is blockchain technology, which promises to enhance traceability, transparency, and efficiency. This blog delves into the challenges faced by the dairy industry and explores a groundbreaking pilot project utilizing blockchain to revolutionize the supply chain of Ghee, offering a glimpse into a more secure and accountable future for dairy products.

Key Challenges in the Dairy Supply Chain

The dairy supply chain is a complex network involving multiple stakeholders, from farmers to consumers. Each stage presents unique challenges that can impact the overall efficiency, quality, and safety of dairy products. Here are some of the most pressing challenges faced by the dairy industry:

Fragmentation and Lack of Integration:

The dairy supply chain often involves numerous small-scale farmers, multiple intermediaries, and various processing units. This fragmentation leads to a lack of integration and coordination, resulting in inefficiencies and higher operational costs.

Quality Control and Safety:

Ensuring the quality and safety of dairy products is paramount. Contaminations can occur at various stages, from milking to processing and transportation. Without robust monitoring and control mechanisms, the risk of compromised product quality increases.

Traceability Issues:

Traceability is essential for identifying the source of any quality or safety issues. However, many dairy supply chains lack comprehensive traceability systems, making it difficult to track products back to their origins.

Spoilage and Waste:

Dairy products are perishable and require proper handling and storage conditions. Inadequate refrigeration and transportation facilities often lead to spoilage, resulting in significant waste and financial losses.

Regulatory Compliance:

The dairy industry is subject to stringent regulatory standards. Ensuring compliance with these regulations requires detailed record-keeping and reporting, which can be burdensome without efficient systems in place.

Economic Pressures on Farmers:

Dairy farmers often face economic pressures due to fluctuating milk prices and high production costs. These pressures can lead to compromises in quality and sustainability practices.

Implementing End-to-End Traceability in the Dairy Supply Chain with Spydra

To address these challenges, the dairy industry is increasingly exploring innovative solutions like blockchain technology. Spydra's blockchain solutions offer a transparent, secure, and immutable way to track products through every stage of the supply chain. A pilot project focusing on implementing end-to-end traceability for Ghee, a clarified butter product, demonstrates the potential of blockchain technology in transforming the dairy supply chain.

Overview of the Pilot Project

The pilot project is a collaboration between GS1, a global organization known for developing supply chain standards, and Maahi Milk, a cooperative society in Gujarat, India. The project aims to ensure transparency and accountability in the supply chain of Ghee from farm to table.

Business Process and Traceable Components

The traceable components in this project include cattle, milk, dairy products like butter and ghee, and value chain participants. Cattle are tracked for health checks and milking events, while milk is monitored from collection to transportation and arrival at the processing plant. Dairy products are tracked through processing, packaging, and dispatch. The entities handling these components, such as milk pooling points and dairy plants, are also part of the traceability process. Critical tracking events involve the transfer of ownership of milk and ghee, as well as the transformation processes, like converting chilled milk into butter and butter into ghee.

Technology and Integration

The chosen technology for this blockchain solution is Hyperledger Fabric. This framework offers integration of value chain participants across various systems and technologies, the ability to create multiple channels for different dairy organizations, and data isolation to control access while tracking products. A Dairy Blockchain network is formed using Hyperledger Fabric, allowing for the creation of multiple channels for different organizations. For instance, the Maahi Milk producer company channel includes NDML, GS1, Maahi, distributors, and retailers.

Integration Points

The integration points were carefully designed, with Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain as the base layer and the Spydra Asset Tokenization application and API layer on top. The REST API manages traceable component data and critical tracking events, while the GraphQL API provides an interface for extracting blockchain data using SQL-like queries. Integration with NDLM retrieves cattle details based on member codes, and integration with DataKart and Maahi SAP ensures product information and event data are accurately reflected in the blockchain.

Traceability and User Interface

A traceability web application was developed to provide a user interface for end-users and Maahi/GS1 business users. End users can scan the product's QR code to trace the journey of Gir Amrut Ghee, from the origin at Gir cows to production. Admins can view comprehensive reports on supply chain and inventory management, including the lifecycle of products, inventory quantities, and locations, and detailed analyses of inventory movements and turnaround times.

Final Conclusion

The pilot project with GS1 and Maahi Milk demonstrates how blockchain technology can revolutionize the dairy supply chain by enhancing traceability, transparency, and efficiency. The key benefits include enhanced traceability with accurate tracking from farm to consumer, increased transparency with consistent information for all parties involved, improved efficiency by reducing manual errors and streamlining operations, strengthened consumer trust through verified product origins, and optimized operations by identifying and addressing inefficiencies. By leveraging blockchain technology, the dairy industry can overcome its supply chain challenges and ensure the delivery of high-quality, safe, and trustworthy dairy products to consumers.

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