Before getting into "How Blockchain can transform the Agricultural Industry", let’s take a closer look at the needs to integrate Blockchain into agriculture.
As Blockchain Technology progresses and illustrates its functionality in many cryptocurrencies, many organizations are trying to harness its transparency and fault tolerance to resolve problems in scenarios where a lot of untrusted actors get involved in the distribution of resources.
The agriculture industry is characterized by financial unsteadiness because of different types of risks involved in market, production, and prices. Following are a few reasons:
Unfavorable climatic conditions
Unsatisfactory realization of prices
In December 2016, the company AgriDigital efficiently executed the world’s first sale of 23.46 tons of grain on a Blockchain. Thereafter, over 1,300 users have been involved in the sale of more than 1.6 million tons of grain on the cloud-based system, involving US$360 million in grower payments.
The success of AgriDigital has served as a motivation for the prospective utilization of this technology in the agricultural supply chain. Agriculture and the food supply chain are firmly connected since agricultural products are used as inputs in multi-actor distributed food supply chains. Truly, the global food chain is complex, uniting farmers, warehousing, shipping companies, distributors and grocers.
Blockchain Technology offers numerous benefits, delivering a secure way to execute transactions between untrusted parties. To enhance traceability in value chains, a decentralized ledger helps to connect inputs, suppliers, manufacturers, and buyers. More importantly, Blockchain is appropriate for the developing world, where it can support small farmers by providing them with finance and insurance, and facilitate transactions. In spite of the fact that small farmers supply 80% of food in developing countries, they hardly have access to insurance, banking or basic financial services.
Benefits of implementing the Blockchain in Agriculture
1. Crop and Food Production
Catering the necessities of the growing population by growing more food with minimum resources while diminishing environmental footprint, increasing customer satisfaction, empowering transparency across the supply chain and ensuring fair income to farmers while handling the tantrums of the weather- the agriculture area has a lot of challenges to conquer while enhancing productivity under unfavorable environmental conditions.
Let's explore how Blockchain blended with IoT can encourage farmers and other stakeholders in taking most optimal decisions.
Here is a detailed process of how Blockchain can change the way in which crops or food items are produced:
Step 1: IoT devices generating data
The population over the globe is presumed to touch 9.6 billion by 2050 and that's why, to feed the growing population, the agriculture industry is adopting IoT devices and sensors. In IoT-empowered smart farming, a system is built for keeping an eye on the crop field using sensors (temperature, moisture, pH, soil, humidity, light).
IoT sensors and devices generate data which can enable farmers to make qualified decisions related to the growth of the crops. The information collected from the IoT devices first need to be organized before getting saved on the data storage.
Step 2: Cleaning and Enhancement of the collected data
Before saving the gathered information on the Blockchain, there is a need to confirm that it is organized and understandable.
Data Enhancement is done to add more value to increase the quality of the collected information. The following two steps make sure that the data is cleaned before it gets saved on the distributed storage platform: Including Meta Information: Information concerned with timestamp, demography, and type must be added to the data for making it more organized.
Making data ready for compliance: Saving data on the Blockchain does not mean that it should not be flexible. Rather, it makes flexibility constraint more consistent. Meeting flexibility makes sure that the personally recognizable information associated with the data collected from IoT devices is protected and follows security measures.
Once the data is enhanced, it is put into the machine learning-ready format.
Step 3: Making the data more sensible with machine learning algorithms
Machine Learning is connected to the data generated from the sensors to provide useful understandings. Predictive models can drive a number of high-value use-cases including:
From the information gathered through machine learning algorithms, farmers and other stakeholders will be able to make improvements in the irrigation system from time to time.
Step 4: Data gets saved on the Blockchain
The high-value data captured through machine-learning gets stored in IPFS (Interplanetary File System), a distributed storage platform having addresses hashed and saved on the Blockchain.
In contrast with the current method to store important information in the centralized server which has a risk of single point of failure, the data is distributed over every node in the network disallowing a central authority to control the system.
The information caught in the Blockchain will provoke smart contracts to process rules defined among them.
Smart contracts simplify the exchange of data stored on the Blockchain among the specific stakeholders in the system.
It will become seamless to every agriculture market participant to bring efficiency in crop or food production since information will be transparent.
2. Food Supply Chain
Food Supply Chain tracking is crucial to discovering the source from where the food has originated or grown. It is necessary to ensure that the supplied eatables are safe to eat.
With the occurrence of the Blockchain, it has become possible to bring trust and transparency in the food supply chain ecosystem, assuring food safety for everyone.Here is a detailed explanation of how the food supply chain Blockchain can lessen food frauds:
Step 1: IoT sensors originating data or Farmers storing data
If the farmer is not using technology-driven techniques, then they can simply store the fundamental information such as crop quality, type of seed and weather conditions under which the crops were seeded using their mobile application.
The data collected either by using IoT sensors or manually by farmers is saved in the distributed storage platform, i.e., IPFS with addresses stored in the Blockchain.
Step 2: Distribution of fully grown crops to the food processing companies
When the crops are grown up, the food processing companies start bidding on the bidding platform. The crops can be shipped to the cleaners via IoT-enabled vehicles, capturing temperature conditions under which the items are preserved and delivered.
After the bid is verified through smart contracts, the crops go through processing and companies store information collected at every step of the process on the Blockchain.
The information gathered from cleaners can help wholesalers or retailers to confirm if the delivered food is of good quality or not.
Step 3: Supply of Refined Food to Wholesalers and Retailers
After the food items are processed, wholesalers and retailers can bid for the products they want over bidding platform. Equivalent to the transportation of crops to the refineries, the food items are also distributed to wholesalers and retailers in IoT-enabled vehicles.
Step 4: End Customer can Backtrace the Supply Chain
From farm production details to transportation details, food processing and factory data, expiration details, storage temperature and other details digitally connected to the food items within the Blockchain, consumers can explore all of it by back tracing the supply chain.
The food supply chain based on the Blockchain can assist different stakeholders with accessing information related to the food’s quality at every stage.
3. Managing Agricultural Finance
Here are the means by which Blockchain can help in handling agricultural funds:
Step 1: Stakeholders sharing data at each phase of food production
Every time a transaction will happen, it will be stored in the Blockchain, empowering all the involved parties to get to each and every transaction transparently.
Sharing fundamental information at every phase of the food production will carry more integrity to the entire system.
Step 2: Auditors will be able to manage audits efficiently
For being able to store data eternally and securely, Blockchain can act as a source of verification for the listed transactions.
The auditors will be able to verify the transactions directly via Blockchain ledgers, rather than asking farmers or retailers to send financial reports for auditing purposes.
The audit environment can be made cost-effective with the help of automated auditing process. Audit firms will be able to conduct audits throughout the period, instead of carrying out assessments at the end of the year. Blockchain will make it feasible to replace the irregular auditing by auditors, making it more efficient to access each and every transaction.
It’s becoming more and more clear that there are opportunities in the agriculture industry.
In our opinion, it is necessary for us and our customers to be at the leading edge of the latest technologies and advances that are going to enhance and influence that way we manufacture, process, transport and trade food, fiber and fuel. Blockchain Technology is a part of the future of secure and trusted agri-supply chains.
Being one of the leading Blockchain Development Companies in India, Softlabs Group lends a helping hand to Agriculture Industry to develop innovative software solutions.
Contact us to get a better understanding of the Blockchain Applications in Agriculture Industry.Contact Us Now