In our next installment of blockchain integration outside of the financial sector, we’re swapping luxury goods for farming practices. We’ve heard that the nascent technology is proving itself to be a viable asset in any industry, join us as we uncover blockchain integration in the food and agricultural sectors. 

How Blockchain Is Empowering The Food Industry

As the priority on wellness and living active lifestyles continues to grow, more and more people are looking for healthy, more transparent produce. Trusting that the produce is fresh is one thing, but knowing where it came from is another element entirely. Since blockchain technology came onto the scene, several large corporations dealing with food have started exploring incorporating the technology into their businesses. 

Blockchain technology allows all the different components of the food supply chain to communicate and provide real time information on a public ledger. The technology provides a platform for the farmers, processors and distributors to provide their share of the process, offering a full view of what’s happening in the system to all other parties involved, as well as the consumer. Eventually, a customer will be able to scan the barcode of anything in the store, from a piece of meat to a bunch of spinach, and see exactly where it came from and what steps it was taken through to ultimately end up there.

IBM Food Trust Pioneering The Way

Walmart recently partnered with IBM to start building the infrastructure to facilitate consumer tracking of a food item from farm to plate. Their journey in digitizing the food chain journey has been a long one, but both parties are optimistic that the technology could empower generations to come. 

IBM’s senior Vice President for Global Industries, Platforms and Blockchain, Bridget van Kralingen explains IBM’s involvement: “We built the IBM Food Trust solution using IBM Blockchain Platform, which is a tool or capability that IBM has built to help companies build, govern and run blockchain networks. It’s built using Hyperledger Fabric (the open source digital ledger technology) and it runs on IBM Cloud.”

Another large food corporation is also getting in on the action, initially starting in 2017 also with the IBM Food Trust. In a new movement to provide more transparency with their goods, Nestlé has partnered with another blockchain based platform to track their raw materials from production to distribution. The project started with tracing the milk from cow farms in New Zealand to the factories and warehouses in the Middle East. The project then expanded to tracking palm oil sourced in the Americas. As a new venture for both Nestlé and OpenSC (founded by The Boston Consulting Group Digital Ventures and WWF-Australia), this promises to show the scalability potential.

This year, Australian agricultural supply chain platform Entrust got involved in the process too. This time working on a platform that allows consumers to track the origins of their wine. All elements will be shared on the public ledger, from the type of grape, to the region it was grown, right down to how and where it was stored and other essential components relating to the wine’s overall quality. 

What Blockchain Can Bring To The Agricultural Sector

Now that we’re got a good grasp on blockchain’s benefits within the food industry, you can see where we’re going with the agricultural sector too. As dApps (decentralized applications) gain more traction, several companies have started creating DLT based platforms that can track, monitor and store valuable data. 

The technology can work to accumulate not just information from producers, distributors, and the transportation of products but also data captured by drones that can give an accurate overview. Companies can then use this information to monitor essential components like labour, water usage, seed development, etc, and better develop their resources, and ultimately resources. 

Seemingly at the forefront of blockchain and cryptocurrencies integration, Australia makes another appearance. Agtech company AgriDigital is harnessing the powers of blockchain to bring solutions to Australian farmers. The company provides two services: Waypath which enables farmers to track their produce from growth to point of sale, while AgriDigital allows farmers to manage the purchase, sales, storage and moving details of the produce. 

Blockchain Integration In The Food And Agricultural Sectors

While the process might feel slow, there is no denying that there are definitely early signs of interest and progress when it comes to blockchain integration in the food and agricultural sectors. As the development continues, we can only hope that this becomes a norm for consumers and producers around the world, increasing transparency, productivity and quality.