Applications and Use Cases

Blockchain Promotes Transparency and Sustainability in Agrifood Industry

March 03, 2021

A recent study into the use of blockchain for the sustainable agrifood business shows the technology has a host of potential benefits. Blockchain can help increase the transparency, traceability, efficiency and position of both farmers and horticulturists within agrifood chains.

At the same time, blockchain can present drawbacks for agrifood, according to a study from the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality conducted by Wageningen University & Research.

In agrifood chains, blockchain could work by aggregating farmers, producers and vendors as participants in a shared information system. This would enable a common set of checks and balances that wouldn't require a central overseer. The result would be increased transparency throughout the entire agricultural food chain, providing consumers with trustworthy information about the origins of their food.

“Many people jump to conclusions at the mention of blockchain, without knowing the full story,” said Lan Van Wassenaer, leader of the study program. “You can use blockchain to improve transparency and traceability. It will make the traceability of products in the food chain easier and can prevent fraud.”

The study concluded that blockchain could also be used to improve both efficiency and sustainability throughout the agricultural sector. It would lead to automated digital transactions and would also give farmers and horticulturists control over the information they wish to share.

According to HortiDaily, blockchain has already been implemented by a number of agrifood players in the Netherlands as well as globally. Albert Heijn, the largest supermarket chain in The Netherlands, is using a blockchain platform. The Smart AgriFood Observatory found that 43 percent of 44 mapped agrifood solutions in Italy are enabled by blockchain.

But Van Wassenaer warned there could be roadblocks when it comes to widespread blockchain adoption in the agrifood business.

“The current system is still robust," she said. "So if you want to introduce blockchain, you have to reorganize a working system, and not every party involved does well with transparency. Some parties, such as brokers, base their business model on a lack of transparency and do not necessarily want to move to a more transparent system.”

To provide more information about how blockchain technologies are transforming the agrifood business and a host of other vertical markets, TMC is  hosting The Blockchain Event on June 22-25, 2021, at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The event will include panel discussions, keynotes and case studies discussing how blockchain and associated technologies are impacting global markets and business.

Edited by Maurice Nagle



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