Today, it’s no longer news that blockchain technology is taking over many industries. Yes, we’ve seen it disrupt the financial sector, hospitality, healthcare, real estate, logistics, online advertising and more. But hey, do you know that this revolutionary technology can also transform agriculture? Yes, with the right applications, blockchain can deliver real value to growers. For the most part, blockchain can provide a single, unalterable source of truth about the condition of your farm, inventory, and contracts. So yes, as a farmer, you may no longer have to use countless apps, spreadsheets or pen and paper to record important data. In a nutshell; blockchain technology can reduce inefficiencies while saving time and energy in the agriculture value chain. With blockchain’s ability to improve automation, digitization, and food tracking, there’s no doubt that the technology is a must for modern agriculture.
So what are the possible applications of blockchain technology in agriculture?
Better Traceability in the Crop Supply Chain
For starters, blockchain technology can improve traceability of crops and deliver better outcomes. Essentially, with a blockchain ledger, you’ll get to know the status of your crops right from planting to delivery. And the good thing is, every information will be secure and available in real time. As most growers already know, today’s consumers are more interested in organic foods. And of course, the chances of meeting their expectations are higher if farmers can provide proper documentation of the supply chain involved in those foods. So basically, food safety is a must.
The good news? Blockchain technology can help — in fact, it could be the ultimate solution. Yes, with this revolutionary technology, the process of verifying a product’s certification will be a lot faster and more effective. Moving forward, it’s good to point out that one startup has already started implementing blockchain technology in this regard. Yes, the company Pipeline Foods aims to increase the supply of organic foods that can pay the grower well above the worth of conventionally-grown crops. That said, It’s basically the responsibility of organic farmers to capture comprehensive production data, sign on its accuracy and share the information with relevant certifying agencies. Of course, doing this will boost the efficiency of data entry and even better, improve the frequency of data verification via the blockchain.
Another startup Ripe.io also use blockchain technology to track crops, yield higher quality crops and put trusted information in the hands of farmers, distributors, and consumers. it’s also worth noting that traceability can help growers deliver quality products to food processors or grain buyers. And even more, they’ll be able to stay on top of asset exchange through the blockchain. Speaking of which, an Australian-based startup Blockgrain has already started helping farmers to enjoy real-time transactions, instant payments and several other features that can improve their overall operation.
IoT and Quality Control
Let’s face it; the process of monitoring the quality of crops (right from harvest to delivery) has never been easy. It’s basically a huge challenge for farmers and growers throughout the world. But of course, the good news is, the power of blockchain technology can be harnessed in this regard. Interestingly, IBM is already working on IoT that makes it possible for growers to monitor soil quality, irrigation, and pests in a precise and highly efficient manner. It’s also good to point out that there are initiatives to leverage sensors to track the quality of stored crops over time. Of course, the ultimate goal of these applications is to automate and digitize just about everything that has to do with record keeping and quality control.
The good news is, most of these incredible innovations are presently happening in modern-day agriculture. For the most part, these sensors can gather data automatically in real-time. And of course, provide quick and easy access to growers who need the information to perform various farm operations.
Logistics and Payments
Today basically every medium to large farm operation know that logistics is a big challenge in the agricultural supply chain. At this point, we’re talking about dealing with high amounts of perishable products in uncertain conditions with lots of money on the line. What’s more, there are cases where supply can be uncertain and that, of course, is a totally different ball game. Of course, everything boils down to losing hundreds of thousands of dollars if things don’t go as planned. So any good news? Well, of course, there is! Implementing blockchain into logistics can go a long way in simplifying deliveries. Yes, with smart contracts, farmers will be free from the long chains of intermediaries. And of course, they’ll get to rest easy knowing that the product will reach the end consumer in good shape. What’s more, smart contracts will eliminate unnecessary delay and ensure farmers get paid for their product on time. Even better, the solution can be configured to spread out payments to farmers throughout the year as opposed to paying them seasonally.
These are just some of the most relevant applications of blockchain technology in agriculture. Of course, with the few points above, one can tell that blockchain will disrupt the industry in a big way. Perhaps the biggest advantage here is the ability to track food from harvest to storage to delivery. What’s more being able to monitor farming operations and record important data in a single, immutable ledger is huge. All in all, blockchain technology is the ultimate solution to the challenges facing modern-day agriculture. We just have to keep our eyes peeled and watch how things unfold over the next few years.