Blockchain has been revolutionary for agriculture enabling both consumers and farmers to see the entire journey of their produce and track it at any point. Currently, a lot of trade in agriculture is still recorded on paper which is prone to fraud, loss of information, or just incorrect information.

The three major benefits of blockchain to the agriculture industry are:

  • It builds confidence from customers as they know where their food is coming from and can track it
    • They are buying actual local food, not food just claiming to be local
  • Farmers can ask for better prices when the supply chain is transparent
    • They can ask for more based on soil and air quality, fertiliser, organic produce and fair trade practices and people will pay for that because they can verify it’s true
  • The agriculture industry has better control over the supply chain
    • The supply chain is transparent meaning better data (real time) to make better decisions
    • No third party to control the flow of the chain’s transactions. Transactions happen faster as they are direct from the customers to the farmers/distributors

Benefits

Security

The method through which the data is stored has ensured that blockchain is computationally too expensive to crack. This creates a completely secure environment without taking away any control over the data from the industry.

Competitive

Transparency of all information within the blockchain creates a competitive advantage by beating international companies that masquerade their products as Australian produce. When consumers are informed, they won’t buy from companies claiming to be something they are not. This keeps Australians buying local produce. They already want to buy locally and ethically but don’t know which brands to trust. Blockchain is a trusted way for them to tell the difference.

Efficiency

Blockchain speeds up transactions and ensures accuracy by enabling the customer to interact directly with the farmers or companies, without the need of a subjective third party who may have their own interests in mind.

Provenance

Blockchain increases transparency and traceability; once information is logged in the blockchain it is unchangeable, making problems like fraud a thing of the past. This enables customers to see where their produce comes from and enable them to actually buy from locals through transparency.

Use cases

Soybeans

Business problem

Louis Dreyfus Co. is a trading company that buys and sells soybeans. Their processing time for transactions took around 2 weeks, slowing down business for selling soybeans. The system relied on paper and faxes, where things such as a typo could set back the process days.

Blockchain solution

The system to exchange these soybeans was extremely complex, dealing with rules and regulations on how the goods should be handed over, when and how to pay, and receipts going to multiple people. Blockchain was able to mitigate common problems within the previous system including identifying errors in the data, and ensuring each stakeholder had the appropriate documents in a matter of minutes. Shipments could be tracked throughout the whole process and factors such as temperature could be closely monitored and adjusted with both selling and buying parties informed if any issues occurred.

Recently blockchain has been used to reduce food waste and also fraud, and also help to monitor crops and animals.

Outcomes

They managed to cut down their processing time from 2 weeks to only 1, doubling their efficiency. The time taken for paper-based logistics was reduced by 80%, meaning communications was faster and people got paid quicker.

Find out more about blockchain in agriculture

If you would like to talk to us about how we could make this sort of system for you, click here and fill out our contact form for a free consultation. We’ll let you know if blockchain is right for you.

Water usage

Business problem

Civic Ledger is a company in Western Australia that received $80,000 from the federal government in 2017 to solve the problem of the current resource management system. The Australian Water Partnership teamed up with Civic Ledger to create a blockchain-based solution. The current system relied on five state government departments sharing responsibility for water management resulting in a highly complex system that suffered from time delays and increasing costs.

Blockchain solution

Civic Ledger is a blockchain company that integrates with current systems to streamline peer-to-peer water trading and reduce costs by cutting out the middle man. In the process, blockchain also reduced the potential of fraud by eliminating human error by the middle man, as well as error by water users and the government through blockchain’s stringent data verification process.

The blockchain solution that Civic Ledger proposed and completed in a proof of concept, increased transparency of the supply chain to help Australia solve water scarcity. The system allows for real-time tracking of data to see data such as:

  • Where water is and how much is where
  • Who has water and how much
  • Water supply levels
  • Water waste
  • Water quality and other aspects (e.g. mineral levels)

Real-time data provided to the government was able to assist in decisions about where water should be going and increased accountability for water usage by indvisuals also helped prevent water wastage.

Australia is one of the few countries to have clear regulations on the use of blockchain technologies within the water sector.

Uses for blockchain within the water sector

  • Water rights trading: Bloickchain increases security (blockchain is immutable) of the compliance process as well as increases efficiency (saving time and money by reducing complexity). It encompasses real time data that monitors water trading activity where regulators have full transparency of the system transactions and outcomes.
  • Smart contracts: No third parties means reduced time for transactions to process, meaning that money comes through faster and is verified quicker. Instead of waiting days for the transaction to verify that everything is correct, it can be done in minutes so trade can happen faster and more often. Reducing time also reduces monetary costs.
  • Peer to peer trading: Users can trade energy usage for water from water plants that treat and process water. They trade in energy they are not using in return for water direct from the facility. This skips a middle man who is costly and time-inefficient.
  • Capital raising: To raise money for blockchain projects, often Initial Coin Offerings are a way of crowd sourcing from potential users of the system who can invest in the program. Water users buy special water crypto currencies that can be exchange dint he future to buy water within the system.

Outcomes

Blockchain helped the water supply chain become more efficient, with less wastage and more control. Data was collected in real time, lowering costs of time as decisions could be made quickly, without having to use unreliable data that was 6 months old.

Moving forward form this project, the Australian Government is providing $2.57 million towards projects within it’s Smart Cities and Suburbs program, which uses blockchain technology to help with water and energy distribution. Specially, the city of Fremantle will be used to test blockchain further within the water sector. Civil Ledger is working with companies such as CSIRO to make this a reality.

Does blockchain fit into your business?

Your organisation would like to track what goes on in the business. For example, you can track where your product is in the distribution cycle. Your customer can also track that which builds trust through transparency.

Your organisation needs protection against fraud. Blockchain makes it hard to commit fraud as information in the blockchain cannot be altered.

Your organisation has a high emphasis on security. Essentially any industry that includes transactions, record-keeping, and relies on confidentiality. This includes everything from health and safety records, market exchanges, produce and animals sold, and maintaining of customer data.

You would like another level of control over transactions. For instance, instead of customers earning points with your company like the Woolworths rewards card, they earn these crypto coins where value acts like real currency to be spent on your produce and encourage further transactions with your farms.

When should you not use blockchain?

Simply jumping on the blockchain bandwagon? Your app probably doesn’t need blockchain. Blockchain without a purpose (or created for the sake of publicity) are not likely to succeed.

References

  • https://blockchainatberkeley.blog/building-it-better-a-simple-guide-to-blockchain-use-cases-de494a8f5b60
  • https://hackernoon.com/wtf-is-the-blockchain-1da89ba19348
  • https://www.originclear.com/pdf/20180216-GWI-Blockchain-Article.pdf
  • https://medium.com/@impactchainlab/managing-our-water-supply-with-blockchain-46aaf0b7f530
  • https://web.powerledger.io/australian-government-awards-grant-8-million-project-using-blockchain-technology-integrate-distributed-energy-water-systems/
  • http://www.marchmenthill.com/qsi-online/2018-03-28/can-blockchain-water-industry/

Category:

Blockchain

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