Blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network. Blockchain technologies can be used to consolidate information on the quality of the seed, track how crops grow and record the journey once it leaves the farm.
The blockchain is a ledger of accounts and transactions that are written and stored by all participants. It promises a reliable source of truth about the state of farms, inventories and contracts in agriculture, where the collection of such information is often incredibly costly. The blockchain technology can track the provenance of food and thus helps create trustworthy food supply chains and build trust between producers and consumers.
Who is using blockchain?
Walmart has been using blockchain technology to digitise their supply chain and reduce the time it takes to track the source of food contamination. In 2020, an E. coli outbreak that spanned 19 states and hospitalised 20 people was traced back to leafy greens in the US. The industry spent millions of dollars notifying the public as well as tracing and removing the contaminated vegetables from the market. Walmart now requires all suppliers of leafy green vegetables to upload data onto a blockchain that tracks produce right back to the farm it came from. In the event of batch contamination, Walmart is able to trace contaminated food within seconds, versus the weeks-long manual process. This is invaluable during times of product recall.
Blockchain adoption would help consumers and suppliers in creating better access to supply chain operations. Suppliers remain informed, inventories are accurately recorded, and quality checks are completed precisely. Business intelligence and clarity generated by blockchain technology facilitate better decision making and ultimately create less waste.
However, all the parties along the chain need to follow the steps and embrace technological change.Food ecosystems involve many players and many layers that demand greater efforts for blockchain adoption. All the entities in the network need to adopt this technology in order to attain successful integration.