Blockchain technology has been infiltrating many different industries, providing much needed efficiencies and assisting in their global expansion. The agricultural industry has been in need of technology makeover for some time, especially smaller farmers. Granted there have been great advances as it relates to the farming itself with everything from automation for machinery, artificial intelligence for predicting weather patterns and crop growth rates and much more being implement to increase overall production.
The inroads for blockchain technology will provide many benefits to farmers big and small by providing enhanced transparency in the supply chain, basically enabling traceability of products from farm to plate, increasing transparency and accountability. This can avoid questions about what is organic and what is not, when a food item can be traced to the origin that helps to breed confidence in a brand. There have been cases of fraud as it relates to certain companies labelling their products organic when indeed they were nonorganic and being imported from other countries to the USA or even domestically. The integration of blockchain would prevent bad actors from deceiving the general public.
The impact of blockchain technology on food safety is a big one, it can provide a quick and efficient tracking system of outbreaks and contamination, enabling faster and more targeted responses. In short the traceability factor will allow a farmer or distributor to trace the contamination to the source and provide protection for the general public. This can prevent outbreaks from spreading more rapidly by being able to stop it at the source as well as take products off the shelves related to it.
Business is business and in the world of agriculture and commodities in general, contracts are a must. So the integration of blockchain technology can provide enhanced contract management, it can be used to digitize and automate contract management, improving the efficiency and reducing the risk of fraud. MegaHoot Technologies has done this with DocuMega, a blockchain enabled document management system.
The positive impact of the integration of blockchain technology is vast for all industries, we covered a few things so far as it relates to agriculture such as increased efficiency and cost reduction, the streamlining of supply chain management processes promotes efficiency, it can reduce waste and costs, increase efficiency and profitability for a company. Having better-informed consumers makes for a better business model, blockchain can actually allow consumers to access information about the products they purchase, including origin, composition, and authenticity.
There are some negative impacts but they are the same as any new technology would have in any industry such as adoption and the implementation challenges, the integration of blockchain in agriculture will not be an overnight process and it does require significant resources and technical expertise which makes it a challenge for smaller farmers. This is why technology companies such as MegaHoot Technologies have the ability to streamline this process making simple platforms that require little to no blockchain knowledge but the results are the same.
Now regulation and standardization issues are also an issue when the government comes to the table. The lack of clear regulation and standards for blockchain technology’s use in agriculture can pose challenges to widespread adoption as it has not been addressed as of yet. This may not be addressed for many years but the pioneers in this space would more than likely provide the framework that they can work with to put certain standards in place.
The ultimate value of blockchain in the agricultural space is to create a more sustainable, efficient, and transparent food system. By improving supply chain management and providing better information to consumers, blockchain can help build trust and confidence in the food industry. This is the golden key that benefits the farmers, consumers and relieves government of allocating resources to monitor this as it would be widely available information.
In the end smaller farmers can benefit from blockchain by using it to expand their businesses globally by improving their supply chain management, reaching new markets, and accessing new information and opportunities. Working with companies such as MegaHoot Technologies can straighten the learning curve as simple to use systems can be used on the frontend with blockchain powering the backend.
We should see blockchain more widely used in the agricultural industry over time, IBM has use case studies that support the benefits in a massive way. Blockchain may even be used in the gold and diamond mining industries to track the origin of a particular precious metal or any precious stone beyond diamonds, only time will tell.