Blockchain has been gaining momentum and innovative companies across the globe are coming up with various applications for it. Nearly $4bn was poured in by venture funds into Blockchain startups in 2018. Can this technology really have application for the Agriculture public policy makers ?
In the last few weeks, I have had opportunity to meet and discuss with policy makers in South East Asian countries on various applications of Blockchain relevant for them. Here are some of their most pressing use cases:
- Food Traceability- Food safety is a big concern in South East Asia and customers are always anxious to know origin of their food. Government bodies are keenly looking at technology to bring in much needed transparency and traceability in the food supply chain. Read here on how HCM City department of Industry and trade is using Blockchain to provide Origin traceability for Chicken and eggs.
- Efficient distribution of subsidies- Agriculture is one of the highest recipients of government subsidies. For instance, Malaysia allocates a budget close to USD 1.6 billion for farmers, plantation and agricultural workers including subsidies on agricultural inputs. How much of it reaches the actual beneficiaries is always a question because of Ghost records, Corruption and accessibility limitations. Biometrics and Blockchain with its irrefutability and transparency can help governments weed out the ghost records and democratize the information, making it easier to track the actual beneficiaries of subsidies.
- Land title registration- Tracking existence of land parcels and legal ownerships is often fraught with challenges because of ambiguous and central record keeping. Which makes it harder for farmers to receive government subsidies targeted at landholders or receive Agri loans by mortgaging their lands with banks or get crop insurances. Few government bodies have adopted blockchain as the solution to irrefutable land records. Read here about project BenBen in Ghana OR here for initiative in Andhra Pradesh
- Agri Inputs- Many countries in the region grapple with issue of fake Agri inputs. For instance, the Malaysian government suspects that in spite of massive subsidies and favourable climate, counterfeit fertilizers are responsible for paddy yields as low as 4 MT/HA . Blockchain can find it application by tracking each product from manufacturer to end buyer. Retailers and buyers would be able to track authenticity and source of products they buy using a simple scan of QR code.
- Commodity Exchanges- Price discovery and hedging is a challenge for small holders if commodity trading is not friction less. Blockchain technology can also be used to create commodity exchanges, by lowering the entry barriers in the form of broker dependence or expensive fees. Read here for a pilot being tested in Africa.
SAP has been working with stakeholders across the globe, on various Blockchain initiatives and with our huge upstream and downstream reach, we are busy connecting small holder farmers and Agri origination companies with the end consumer product companies and consumers, adding Blockchain value to address these 5 use cases. Reach out to know more or visit https://www.sap.com/sea/products/leonardo/blockchain.html#portfolio