Agriculture is the backbone of livelihood for around 58 per cent of India’s population, according to the India Brand Equity Foundation, due to the country’s predominantly agrarian economy (IBEF). India’s agriculture sector is unquestionably one of the most vital, as one of the country’s greatest employment. However, unlike other industries, agriculture has been hesitant to adopt technology, albeit, in recent years, agritech companies have introduced tech-driven solutions to improve production, improve farmer standard of living, and boost agriculture in India.
Because of restricted mobility and potential hazards, the global COVID-19 epidemic proved to be devastating, disrupting food supply systems all across the world. Furthermore, the crisis highlighted the need for cutting-edge technologies in the industry to improve food supply chain resilience while also contributing to increased efficiency in crop production and distribution. Blockchain is one of the important technologies that have the potential to strengthen farming in India.
Why Blockchain in Agriculture
Seeds, crop nutrition, crop protection, farm equipment, credit, warehousing, transportation logistics, food processing, and food preservation are just a few of the various aspects that make up agriculture.
While food passes through many hands-on its way from the farm to the table, today’s consumers have a strong need to know exactly what they’re consuming. Furthermore, as supply chains have become longer, every user’s worry regarding the origin and travel of the product has grown. With the distributed market architecture, blockchain is the only option to reliably bring traceability to agricultural produce.
How Blockchain could change Agri-Business
Consumers are more interested than ever in the origins and ingredients of their food. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in demand for organic products, sustainably raised livestock, and locally grown food. Can buyers trust the label to inform them what they’re getting when they put something in their basket? Consumer tastes have evolved, resulting in a significant food fraud sector. Because the retailer or end-buyer has no way of authenticating a product’s provenance, producers can readily sell mislabeled products.
Then there’s the blockchain. Blockchain technology can give trustworthy information on the origination of food items and the exact trip they made from farm to table since it can record unalterable information at every step in the food supply chain. With a single screen swipe, buyers could identify which certified farm their strawberries were collected from or which field their grass-fed beef was reared in.
Provenance, a British company, has successfully demonstrated this type of application. The Provenance app successfully tracked sustainably harvested tuna from Indonesian fishermen’s boats to Japanese restaurants using blockchain technology. After being caught, the fish were tagged and entered into a blockchain system. As a result, every time the fish changed hands, a new entry was made, allowing the final buyer to know exactly where the fish came from. And this is only the start. Consumers might use apps like Provenance to track not only the provenance of a single piece of meat or vegetable but all of the ingredients in a product.
Optimizing the Supply Chain
Enhanced supply chain openness could benefit farmers in addition to assisting customers in making educated purchases. The agricultural supply chain is famously complicated and opaque, with products passing through several hands before arriving at their end location. Farmers have a tough time determining where, for what price, and how much of their produce is finally sold. They are susceptible as a result of their lack of information and are at the whim of traders who can influence order prices and quantities.
By keeping records in real-time and giving participants with up-to-date supply and demand information, blockchain technology can assist to correct this imbalance. Farmers may be able to determine their own pricing and optimize the number of items they sell if they have access to this information. Furthermore, by maintaining a permanent record of participants’ transaction histories, blockchain can make it much easier for parties all over the world to conduct due diligence on one another and successfully complete deals without the use of middlemen or agents.
Better Pricing and Payment Options
Ultimately, blockchain technology can give agri-commerce players lower-cost and faster payment solutions. Farmers are frequently compensated for their commodities for weeks under the present system, and traditional payment methods such as wire transfers can be rather pricey. Some of these inefficiencies can be addressed with blockchain technology. Many developers have already created blockchain-based apps that enable peer-to-peer fund transactions that are inexpensive, safe, and near-instantaneous. Some are even using “smart contracts,” which immediately trigger payments once a certain condition (such as the delivery of goods) is validated by the buyer.
Data Collection and Processing
IoT devices and sensors are being introduced by agritech companies, and blockchain technology can be used to consolidate data on a variety of topics, including seed quality, crop tracking, and the path of crops from the farm to the market.
Apart from increasing transparency in the food supply chain, blockchain technology can also improve security by prohibiting unethical crop production and distribution, which endangers farmers’ livelihoods. Customers will be able to make informed decisions thanks to blockchain’s data collection, and they may even be able to improve the living standard of small-scale farmers who are often in need of food and financial security.
After the data has been gathered, it must be organized and made comprehensible before it can be saved. Blockchain technology allows you to add meta information to your data and structure to make it more useful. It can be saved after that, making compliance enforcement easier. Data compliance ensures that the information gathered is protected and that security procedures are followed.
Transparency and Reliability
The use of intermediaries in the agriculture sector is no longer necessary thanks to blockchain technology. Blockchain helps rebuild and develop confidence between producers and customers by removing the need for a central authority. This can also help to lower market expenses, making it more inexpensive while maintaining a smooth operation.
Blockchain improves security by allowing only validated transactions to take place and provides a reliable method of tracking transactions. Farmers will be smarter, more digitally savvy, and have a better quality of life as a result of agritech businesses using blockchain to develop data-driven facilities.
Blockchain has the potential to have a huge impact on the way agriculture is done. Blockchain technology can improve trust between parties, make information exchange easier throughout the supply chain, and lower agricultural transaction costs dramatically. Blockchain appears poised to be the disruptive force that propels the agricultural industry into the twenty-first century as the public and commercial sectors struggle to address the technology’s practical and legal difficulties.
This article is written by Faria Choudhry, a student of Architecture and Political Science, who strives to uncover hidden dynamics through her writing.