With roughly 40% of the global workforce, agriculture is one of the leading job providers worldwide – and the agriculture industry is now using blockchain. According to Agfunder News, many potential distributed ledger agricultural solutions are emerging. This includes startups such as Filament being used to create concepts like smart farms, and SkuChain tracking food through supply chain distributed ledgers.
With Filament’s platform, users connect physical objects and existing networks into “wider networks and applications” – making smart farm technology into reliable infrastructure. Smart farms are a form of sustainable agriculture that aims to enhance our environmental quality, integrate technology with natural biological cycle controls and create economic viability within farm operations. Smart farming using blockchain technology can broadcast tamper-resistant weather data, SMS alerts, machinery protocol, GPS positioning and tether many more precision agriculture-related platforms.
Monitoring the food supply chain consumers can get a better idea of where the food is coming from, the date it was created, and how it was produced more efficiently. Rather than depend on the inefficient labelling system which can be easily manipulated, consumers could rely on a transparent immutable ledger of account detailing everything about the food they purchase. SkuChain’s technology focuses on creating direct relationships while augmenting trust and visibility into the flow of goods.
The report’s author from AgriDigital, Emma Weston, details that blockchain technology has significant potential to transform the agriculture industry. Concepts such as real-time management of supply chains, quicker access to crowdfunding, and overall provence and transparency throughout the food chain could be introduced. Weston explains the potential for blockchain growth in the agricultural economy, stating:
Consumer demand for “clean” food, including organic, is skyrocketing, but producers and manufacturers are often struggling to verify the accuracy of data from farm to table. Blockchain can help. Currently, there’s no easy, accurate and efficient way for manufacturers to know about issues like slave labor and pollution, or to identify the exact origin of a commodity. Yet consumers, especially within niche markets like organic food, are increasingly willing to pay for products that provide this information. To date, solutions have revolved around certifications and regulations, both of which add costs, are hard to enforce, and can be confusing to consumers. Weston explains that distributed ledger technology could enhance the relationship between farming businesses and consumers. Practical applications of blockchain technology in the agriculture sector also include minimizing unfair pricing, product origins, and reducing multinational agricultural influence in favor of more localized economies. In the future, platforms could also help with remittances to rural regions as well as other rural farming finance solutions.
Startups such as Provenance and FarmShare are researching and developing blockchain-based agricultural platforms. Farmshare has been networking with its local community and within the technology industry. Farmshare’s venture is also collaborating with ConsenSys and c2renew, a Fargo-based biocomposite manufacturer.
Provenance is a blockchain-based system that tracks goods such as food and makes the information public, secure and all-inclusive. The startup says its state-of-the-art monitoring tools can “prove authenticity and guarantee quality.” It claims the Provenance software service will enable businesses to comply with legislation and consumer demands which will create a “positive social and environmental impact.”
Blockchain technology is continuing to show it can transform many markets and economies in society, and agriculture will be one of them. These days, the public is embracing the need for transparency in food products and farming techniques. Distributed ledger technology that provides better solutions and is cost effective to those in the agricultural industry will be welcomed.