In recent years, the use of blockchain technology has become increasingly prevalent in various industries, including agriculture and food systems. Block chain is one of the components of the fourth industrial revolution. It is a digital technology. Blockchain is a type of chain. Block here refers to a block of data or information. Blocks are linked to each other so it is called blockchain. Basically, Blockchain is a digital ledger of transactions which is distributed throughout the network through computer systems. Those blocks basically store data. Blockchain technology is said to be a novel innovation of recent times.
Blockchain is being used in the agricultural sector in developed countries. Blockchain has wide application opportunities in data analysis, supply chain management, insurance for agriculture, trading of agricultural products and smart agriculture. Blockchain is a secure and decentralized digital ledger that not only stores transactions but also helps track (traceability) and verify information. In terms of bringing transparency and efficiency across the supply chain, there is considerable potential in the use of technology in the production and distribution of agricultural products.
Blockchain enables end-to-end transparency and traceability in the supply chain, helping to ensure product authenticity, reduce fraud and improve efficiency. It helps improve transparency and traceability in the food supply chain, enabling consumers to track the source and journey of food. Blockchain can improve supply chain transparency of all types of plant information, such as seed quality, crop growth, data supply, and help eliminate concerns related to illegal and unethical operations. It can also help consumers make informed purchasing decisions and reward those who implement good farming techniques.
Global food supply chains have proven fragile during the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting calls to increase the resilience of global food supply chains through improved efficiency in the production, distribution and consumption of nutritious food. How can technologies like blockchain be part of the solution by providing data to producers, distributors and consumers? Big data applications can create opportunities to improve global food security by addressing farm-to-table inefficiencies.
Blockchain can help small and marginal farmers to access to information and empower them to explore new market opportunities. One of the key benefits of blockchain technology in agriculture and food systems is its ability to provide transparency and traceability throughout the supply chain. Using blockchain, manufacturers, processors and retailers can track the entire history of a product from its source to its final destination. This helps ensure that products are safe and authentic, and also helps reduce the risk of fraud and counterfeiting.
Blockchain technology also helps streamline and improve the efficiency of agricultural supply chains. For example, by digitizing the supply chain, growers and processors can more easily access information and data, reducing the time and costs associated with manual record-keeping and data management. The use of blockchain technology in agriculture and food systems also helps increase sustainability by reducing waste and optimizing resource use. For example, by tracking products from farm to table, blockchain can help reduce food waste.
Block chain has applications in food supply chain. Globalization trends have made food supply chains longer and more intensive than ever before. There are several challenges in the food supply chain, including food safety, quality, traceability, trust and supply chain inefficiencies. Blockchain technology contributes to solving many of these challenges by facilitating the establishment of trust between producers and consumers. Providing specific product information within the blockchain can significantly increase the transparency of this process.
Climate change in recent decades has made the entire agricultural process increasingly precarious. Weather extremes affect the quality of agriculture and animal feed. Farmers in developed countries often take out agricultural insurance to reduce the unpredictability and risk of farming. Farmers can assess losses or manage risk from various insurance plans. Blockchain technology enables index-based insurance to offer a superior alternative to indemnity-based insurance. This increases the accuracy of the overall insurance process by triggering a reimbursement based on a measurable index rather than loss. Blockchain can help greatly improve payment processes and indexation.
Block chain is very useful for trading agricultural products. The use of blockchain technology can significantly speed up the acquisition and sale of agricultural products on ecommerce sites. For example, information security provisions, Blockchain provides a secure authentication system with private key encryption, ensuring the authenticity of all data acquired during planting and harvesting. How can blockchain help farmers in the supply chain? Such questions may also arise. People nowadays want to know where their food comes from? The desire to eat healthier, along with increased adoption of the technology across all disciplines, is leading agribusinesses to seek supply chain management software a blockchain technology to improve food safety, food quality and traceability of the entire agricultural supply chain.
Precision farming, farmland mapping, IoT sensors, vertical farming systems, location intelligence, crop management software, and transportation technologies enable agribusiness to evolve. Increased food consumption presents additional concerns, as counterfeit items threaten the food supply network at various levels. Farmers and consumers suffer due to lack of transparency and inefficiency. Blockchain farming and distributed ledger technology (DLT) have the potential to improve efficiency, transparency and trust in agricultural supply chains. By establishing trusted partnerships, blockchain can empower all participants in the agricultural supply chain's blockchain market. Blockchain can benefit the agriculture and food industry through transparency, analytics, security, streamlined operations, customer engagement, etc.
The extent of benefits that blockchain technology has achieved in such a short period of time is amazing. Blockchain can completely transform the agriculture sector if properly evaluated. While the benefits of blockchain technology in agriculture and food systems are significant, there are also several challenges such as -lack of awareness, blockchain technology is still not widely understood or adopted in agriculture and food systems, and many stakeholders in the supply chain are unaware of its capabilities and benefits; Interoperability such as the need for interoperability between different blockchain platforms and systems; For blockchain to be effective in agriculture and food systems, it must integrate with existing systems and technologies and be accessible to all stakeholders in the supply chain; Regulation-Agriculture and food systems will require clear and consistent regulation of blockchain technology, to ensure that it is used in a safe, secure and ethical manner.
What is the future of blockchain in agriculture and food systems? To answer such questions, blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize the way agricultural products are produced, distributed and consumed by providing transparency and efficiency across the entire supply chain. For blockchain to be effective in agriculture and food systems, it must be widely adopted and integrated with existing systems and technologies, and must be regulated in a clear and consistent manner.
As the technology continues to evolve, blockchain may play an increasingly important role in agriculture and the food system, will help ensure a more sustainable and efficient food supply and provide greater transparency and traceability for consumers. It will play a major role in meeting the growing human needs of the world, which may also apply to our country in the future. For that awareness should be increased as well as ICT facilities should be increased and youth should come forward.
The writer is Principal
Scientific Officer, BARI