Plant the Seed of Blockchain in Agriculture

Asia Blockchain Review
March 21, 2019

Reshaping the agricultural framework is a massive undertaking but momentous; it deserves the dedicated efforts and full recognition.

Before we look at how enticing blockchain is for the agricultural industry, let’s see how blockchain works in a business operation. When a transaction occurs, and the parties all agreed to the details, the information will be encoded into a block of digital data to be uniquely signed or identified. Each block is connected to one another, creating an irreversible, immutable chain. This means there’s a complete and inalterable trace of record without the possibility of inserting a block of new or altered information.

All the details are stored on a decentralized platform and shared openly among the permitted members who have the access right. Whenever there’s a change, it needs consensus from all the members, so even the system administrator cannot delete a transaction. In other words, this is an optimized ecosystem constructed to nurture businesses, whether the transactions are simple or complex, to support their full operations. Taking this into consideration, the agricultural industry with its many complicated processes from production to shelving, the blockchain would function best to streamline its framework.

The agriculture industry is facing various problems. The existing ones include earnings made by farmers; they work hard to provide the world with food but not get their decent pay, with a big portion gained by the intermediaries. Also the outbreak of food-borne diseases that requires supervision in inventory control to ensure food safety. Besides, false labeling and food fraud issues aren’t uncommon which can lead to catastrophic health risks.

After all, the adoption of blockchain allows farmers to store all of their data in one place; the tamper-proof record diminishes the chance of valuable information getting lost, plus the fact that the disclosed information like where the food is originated, who planted it, how fresh it is only requires workers to scan the product at each stage in the process to update the database with the information. This also ensures farmers to get fair payments for their produce. The fact is, it often takes two weeks or more for them to receive the full payment, and if it is made through wire transfers, a big portion of handling fee will be deducted from their earnings.

Blockchain-based smart contracts work automatically when a previously-specified condition has been fulfilled by the buyer. That is to say, farmers receive payment for their products as soon as they have delivered, eradicated the need for the middlemen and allow farmers to deal with retailers directly.

The new agricultural revolution is just smarter. Take Vietnam as an example. The country is blessed with a huge supply of fruits; to empower its status in the global market, a blockchain-based traceability solution named Fruitchain, powered by Infinity Blockchain Labs (IBL) was created to deliver to producers a convenient and sustainable means of controlling and monitoring, from the source to delivery.

This initiative provides the channel for farmers to optimize product quality and freshness while eliminating inefficient practices and time-consuming procedures. For retailers, Fruitchain enables sellers to have precise control over inventories while helping develop market analytics to predict consumer trends. Blockchain applications like this are expected to be on the rise to effectively enhance inventory control and market predictability while reducing overproduction and waste.

Agriculture matters. Benefits brought by the blockchain is immense. It not only secures the earnings of farmers, stimulates a country’s economic growth through gains in productivity, above all, it can also provide for and safeguard the health of people through growth and harvest.

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